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Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator Review: Disadvantages And Risks Of The Surgery Implant

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Dr. Deuk
An expert in all things spine, Dr. Deukmedjain is a board certified neurosurgeon who has performed thousands of minimally invasive surgeries and procedures including the revolutionary Deuk Laser Disc Repair and the Deuk Spinal Fusion. 

Medtronic is a medical device company that offers a wide range of products for patients with chronic pain. One of their products is the Medtronic spinal cord stimulator. While it’s mostly recommended for back and neck pain by pain management doctors, there are risks associated with the use of the Medtronic spinal cord stimulator. 

In this article, we will discuss the disadvantages and risks of using this device.

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What is a Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator?

A Medtronic spinal cord stimulator is a small, battery-operated device that is implanted under the skin in the lower back. The device sends electrical impulses to the spinal cord to block pain signals from reaching the brain. 

Medtronic offers two types of spinal cord stimulators: traditional and rechargeable. The traditional Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator has been on the market for over 20 years. It uses a battery that needs to be replaced every three to five years. The Medtronic rechargeable Spinal Cord Stimulator uses a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged through an external charging station.

How is a Medtronic spinal cord stimulator implanted?

A Medtronic spinal cord stimulator is implanted under the skin in the lower back. The implantation procedure is done in a hospital setting and typically takes less than an hour. You’re given general anesthesia so you don’t feel any pain during the surgery.

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Does a Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator Cure Pain?

While a Medtronic spinal cord stimulator might bring about temporary pain relief, it does not work to cure pain.

There's a similar pattern between what is happening with spinal cord stimulators and what happened in the 80s with addictive drugs made from opioids. Back in the 80s, drugs made from opioids such as oxycodone and oxycontin were prescribed to people suffering from chronic back and neck pain.

But, patients built a tolerance for these powerful drugs, leading to an increased need for a higher dosage, and eventually addiction. Due to government regulations, doctors stopped prescribing the medication, and opioid addicts turned to cheaper street drugs to maintain the effects. 

A similar scenario to what happened with the opioid painkillers is repeating itself with spinal cord stimulators. Spinal cord stimulators require a surgical operation to be placed over the spinal cord. However, neurosurgeons do not perform them because they aren't effective. 

Therefore–similar to how opioids were pushed by pharma companies–spinal cord stimulator companies are reaching out to pain management doctors who are willing to carry out these procedures and have promised them that they can make a lot of money if they insert the devices into their patients.

Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator doesn't work to cure pain. While it might give temporary relief, it doesn't cure chronic back and neck pain, meaning you’ll always need the device or some sort of pain relief. This is why choosing an alternative to Spinal Cord Stimulators can offer a real cure 

Alternatives to the Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator

If you're suffering from chronic back and neck pain and need an alternative solution to Medtronic spinal cord stimulator, connecting with a qualified surgeon at Deuk Spine Institute is the best alternative. Request a free MRI review.

Deuk Spine Laser Disc Repair

Deuk Spine Institute is the world leader in minimally invasive Laser Spine Surgery. Dr. Ara Deukmedjian, founder of Deuk Spine Institute, developed the world's most advanced laser spine surgery. This laser spine surgery is known as Deuk Laser Disc Repair.  

Deuk Laser Disc Repair is used as an alternative to dangerous invasive surgeries like total disc replacement and spinal fusion. Deuk Laser Disc Repair is a form of endoscopic spine surgery performed in a state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center under sedation while the patient relaxes. This procedure does not compromise or weaken the health and integrity of the spine.

In over 15 years of performing this procedure and with over 1,300 patients treated, there has been a 95% success rate with no complications in any patient.

How Deuk Laser Disk Repair Works

To get started, Deuk Laser Disc Repair requires a very small incision, less than a quarter-inch long. A cylindrical rod called a dilator is inserted in the small opening to gently spread the muscle to create a small passage and guide through which the surgery is performed endoscopically. 

The tip of the dilator is advanced into the symptomatic disc through the tear in the annulus where the herniation originates, and a tube called the retractor slides over the dilator and is carefully positioned into the painful disc. The rest of the entire Deuk laser disc repair surgery will occur inside this narrow tube.

To access the spine, an endoscopic camera is inserted into the tubular retractor to allow the surgeon to guide the laser inside each symptomatic disc. This process ensures that bones and surrounding tissues are not damaged, unlike traditional spinal fusions, microdiscectomy, and artificial discs.

The Holmium YAG laser used in the Deuk laser disc repair is manipulated accurately with millimeter precision under endoscopic visualization to remove only painful inflammatory tissue from the disc. The laser is precisely used to remove damaged disc material that is causing the pain. 

The entire process takes about an hour and leaves less than one-quarter inch incision in the skin, which can be closed with a single stitch and a band-aid. After the surgery, the Deuk laser disc repair patient is back home, enjoying life with a speedy recovery allowing normal activities without pain. 

Another advantage of Deuk laser disc repair is that no opioids or powerful narcotic painkillers are needed after surgery.

If you’re suffering from chronic back and neck pain, submit your MRI for a free review with our team.

Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator Side Effects

Like any medical device, Medtronic's spinal cord stimulator does have the potential to cause side effects. Some of the most common include:

1. Pain at the implant site: This is the most common side effect of Medtronic's spinal cord stimulator. However, it is usually mild and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.

2. Skin irritation: Some people experience skin irritation around the implant site. This can often be treated with topical creams or ointments.

3. Fluid accumulation: Sometimes, fluid accumulates near the implant site. If this occurs, your doctor may need to drain the fluid using a needle or tube.

4. Paresthesia: Paresthesia is a condition that causes abnormal sensations, such as tingling or numbness. It is not uncommon for people who receive a Medtronic spinal cord stimulator to experience paresthesia in their extremities.

Further risks of Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator include:

  • Bleeding or bruising around the implant site
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement
  • Dizziness

What is the success rate and life expectancy of a Medtronic spinal cord stimulator?

There is no definitive answer to this question as each individual's situation is different. However, Medtronic claims that their spinal cord stimulator has a success rate of over 50%. This means that more than half of people who use Medtronic's device report significant pain relief. 

Additionally, the life expectancy of a spinal cord stimulator is typically around 15 years. However, it is important to note that these numbers may vary depending on the individual's specific situation.

How long does it take to recover from a Medtronic spinal cord stimulator?

Again, the answer to this question will vary from individual to individual. However, Medtronic says that most people experience a relatively quick recovery following the implantation of their spinal cord stimulator. 

The majority of patients can return to work within two weeks and resume normal activities within four weeks. It’s important to note that your doctor may give you specific instructions on how long you should wait before resuming certain activities.

Living with a Spinal Cord Stimulator

If you already have spinal cord stimulators, we've compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Can I have CT scans and X-rays?

Yes, you can have CT scans and X-rays with a spinal cord stimulator. However, you will need to notify your doctor ahead of time so that they can take special precautions.

Will the spinal cord stimulator set off airport security?

No, Medtronic's spinal cord stimulator will not set off airport security. However, it is always a good idea to carry your Medtronic card with you when traveling so that you can show it to security if necessary.

I'm pregnant. Can I still use my Medtronic spinal cord stimulator?

If you're pregnant, you should speak to your doctor before using Medtronic's spinal cord stimulator.

Are Medtronic spinal cord stimulators MRI compatible?

Yes, Medtronic's spinal cord stimulators are MRI compatible. However, you will need to notify your doctor ahead of time so that they can take special precautions.

Can I drive with a Medtronic spinal cord stimulator?

Yes, you can drive with a spinal cord stimulator. However, you should always speak to your doctor before doing so.

Can I swim with a Medtronic spinal cord stimulator?

Yes, you can swim with a Medtronic spinal cord stimulator. However, you should avoid getting the device wet.

Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator FAQ

The following are common questions people ask about Medtronic spinal cord stimulators.

Can I get the spinal cord stimulator if I have insurance?

Most major insurance providers cover Medtronic's spinal cord stimulator. However, it’s important to check with your specific insurer to see if you are eligible for coverage. 

Additionally, Medtronic offers financial assistance programs to help those who cannot afford the device.

How much does the spinal cord stimulator cost?

The cost of Medtronic's spinal cord stimulator will vary depending on your insurance coverage. However, the device typically costs between $15,000 and $20,000.

Is the spinal cord stimulator covered by Medicare or Medicaid?

Yes, Medtronic's spinal cord stimulator is covered by both Medicare and Medicaid. However, it is important to check with your specific insurer to see if you are eligible for coverage.

What happens if my spinal cord stimulator stops working?

If your Medtronic spinal cord stimulator stops working, you may need to have it replaced. Medtronic offers a warranty on their devices that covers replacement of the device if it fails within a certain time period. 

It’s important to note that this warranty only applies to Medtronic's devices and not those of other manufacturers.

Can I have my spinal cord stimulator removed if I no longer want it?

Yes, a Medtronic spinal cord stimulator can be removed at any time. However, it is important to note that your insurance may not cover the device if it is removed after implantation.

Can I travel with my spinal cord stimulator implant?

Yes, you can travel with your Medtronic spinal cord stimulator implant. However, it is important to check with your airline to see if they have any restrictions on traveling with medical devices. 

Additionally, you should always carry a copy of your Medtronic spinal cord stimulator implant card with you in case of an emergency.

What are the Medtronic spinal cord stimulator implant sizes?

Medtronic's spinal cord stimulator is available in four different sizes: 18mm, 21mm, 24mm, and 30mm. The size of your device will be determined by your doctor based on the specific needs of your condition.

The Bottom Line

While it sometimes provides temporary pain relief, Medtronic spinal cord stimulators do not work to cure chronic back and neck pain. Instead, it's been shown to cause spinal headaches or spinal fluid leaks, as well as many other complications. 

A better alternative for anyone suffering from chronic back and neck pain is Deuk Laser Disc Repair. This procedure is the most advanced laser spine surgery in the world, and you can only get the procedure done at Deuk Spine Institute. 

At Deuk Spine Institute, we understand that physicians have a duty to make decisions in their patients' best interests. Spinal Cord Stimulators that cause damage to the spine are more profitable to spine surgeons. 

But here at Deuk Spine, we're not driven by money; we're driven by the value we provide to our patients and our capacity to help others.

As a world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Deuk has unique insight into the intricacies of spinal health and nerves. Laser spine surgery at Deuk Spine Institute can treat herniated discs, sciatica, bulging discs, spinal stenosis, and other conditions that cause intense chronic pain.

If you would like to receive patient-oriented care from world-class physicians, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at Deuk Spine Institute today. We also offer free consultation on your MRI scan.

Visit our site here to start your treatment, or submit your MRI for a free review with our team.

Cure your back and neck pain once and for all.

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