Sunday, June 19, 2011

An article to read on ONS complications/Questions to ask your doctor

As you can tell from my blog, nerve stimulation isn't an exact science and there can be many complications. Trying to sort through all the studies is overwhelming and frightening. It seems as if nothing is written for the patient and certainly doesn't go into detail about possible complications. Therefore,  I would recommend reading this article if you are considering Occipital Nerve Stimulation. It isn't aimed at the layperson, but it's not too difficult to understand. Another thing to keep in mind is they started the study 5 years ago and medical technology has come a long way. For example, I have 2 stress loops so that my leads have some give and shouldn't migrate (this was not a common practice in the past).

Occipital nerve stimulator systems: Review of complications and surgical techniques

I encourage everyone to take an active role in their own health care and not be afraid to discuss exactly how the surgeon will implant the Occipital Nerve Stimulator. Neurosurgeons do not have the best bedside manner, but never feel bullied into being silent. Good questions to ask are: How often do you see the need for a revision? When do these revisions usually occur? Have you found better success putting the battery pack in the chest or abdomen? How many incisions will be made? What are my restrictions while healing? How many stress loops will you put in? Do you prefer rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries? (I have a non-rechargeable battery. While rechargeable have a longer life, about 10 years vs the 6 years mine will last, my doctor has found that many people don't take the time to charge it and kill the battery quickly). These are all things I did not know to ask my doctor and I'm learning as I go.

While it is tempting, it might be best to refrain from asking the likelihood of the stimulator taking away your pain. He/She will most likely say 50/50. This is far from comforting and not necessarily true depending on the type of headaches you have. For example, one study has found 75% of Hemicrania Continua patients receive over 60% pain relief. My Medtronics rep has installed 5 stimulators in HC sufferers and 100% of us found 80%+ help. Yet this is not something my doctor would share with me, for whatever reason.

No comments:

Post a Comment