I had my SCS implanted Dec 09 so I'm just about 6 months out. I have severe chronic pain in my left Sacroiliac, left hip/abdomen, and left leg. I had 2 major surgeries for cancer in 01 which led to my troubles today. I ended up with lymphedema and major scar tissue from a complete lymph node dissection..the uncontrolled pain after the surgeries caused me to have a severe limp..which lead to degenerative joint disease of the sacroiliac joint. I've tried EVERYTHING..way too many meds, including ketamine infusions and high dose dextromethorphan.....I have nerve blocks and radiofrequency ablations on a regular basis.
The SCS was my last ditch effort. I did a trial in 11/08 with 1 lead but chickened out at the last minute for the permanent implant because I have horses and wasn't going to be able to care for them. I did a 2nd trial in 11/09 with 2 leads which gave a better response than 1 lead so I went ahead with the implant in 12/09 even with the issue about caring for the horses.
I'm 6 months out now...I had surgical site pain for about 3-4 weeks that for the most part went away. I've had my scs reprogrammed twice and am going in for a 3rd reprogramming because the last one made things worse. Originally I'd hoped to get my leg pain covered but it doesn't even touch it...my back pain is about 60-70% better on most days (doesn't do squat for me when a weather front moves through)...the hip/abdomen pain is GONE (yay for 1 out of 3).
I'm going in for 2 more RFA's next month to cover leg pain and to get my SCS reprogrammed...I couldn't survive without RFAs and nerve blocks.
Would I do it again? Its a toss up.....but I will say this....even some relief is better than no relief! I haven't had any problems with my battery or leads **knock on wood** but I am only at 6 months..I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
As for the trial..they do give you restrictions..and while yes..you do want to try to do normal things..FOLLOW THE RULES...you seriously don't want a major infection or to have a spinal fluid leak because you did something you weren't supposed to do. Having said that..don't sit in a recliner the entire time either..that won't do you any good..just use your best judgement...don't twist and turn or run a marathon...and don't pick up anything heavy.
Regarding infection..I didn't have an infection but I was also on antibiotics for 10 days prior to surgery and 10 days after because 3 out 4 of my past surgeries I ended up with abscesses and I REFUSED to do this surgery without cephalexin on board.
My SCS is from Boston Scientific..so I can't really tell you about how the ANS one might feet...my SCS is set (unfortunately) right where my jeans rest which is annoying at first..but I'm used to it now...when I first had the implant...it drove me bonkers to feel the implant pushing against the back of a chair..but it only bothers me every now and these days. SCS are implanted just under the skin so you can feel them...but mine isn't protruding all over the place....of course..it does have quite a bit of cushion to rest on
As for pain meds..I'm still taking the same meds that I was taking before the implant..just less often with the exception of when a weather front comes through. Hope this long post helps you!!
Best wishes for you in your quest for pain relief.