Forums


Surgical Options

Supraorbital & Occipital Neurostimulator Trial (external)

  • By Chris Hicks

    Hello to All,

    After eight months of working through the process of appointments and paperwork I have finally arrived at a seven day external trial of a neurostimulator (three leads, bilateral supraorbital and one occipital, which covers both greater occipital nerves).

    Yesterday morning was the procedure to place the leads and get the programming creating. The procedure was not the most pleasant experience as I had to be awake and alert in order to provide feedback on placement and coverage of pain areas. The placement of the supraorbital leads was especially uncomfortable. If this works it will be worth the discomfort.

    After the procedure yesterday I felt pretty beat-up. Additionally, a severe migraine started just before the procedure and lasted the remainder of the day. I was beginning to feel hope drain away. After a surprisingly good night of sleep I awoke today to feeling much better. My pain from the procedure was decreased. And, more importantly, when a migraine started to creep in I was able to remove that pain by adjusting the stim.

    As I write this post it is nearly 10:30 pm ET. To have a day where the migraine never got above a two on the pain scale is completely foreign to me!

    Tomorrow begins the second full day of the stim. I am hopeful that tomorrow goes as well as today! I would absolutely love to hit the end of the seven day trial with enough results to justify going forward with the permanent implant (already scheduled for July 15, 2016!

    I know that we all respond to treatment(s) differently. I know that fact all too well as I have tried so many other treatments in the past that have worked for some, but never for me. I certainly would not suggest a stim as the first, second or third treatment option. However, for those like myself that have tried nearly everything else with no success, the stim may be a viable option.

    I plan to post updates during my trial period as replies to this topic.

    Take Care,
    MB

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Meaghan Coneys Moderator

    Hi Chris Hicks (MB),

    Thank you so much for your post! Such great news to hear your procedure seems to be a success and has decreased the intensity of you attacks. Definitely keep us posted on your progress. We appreciate you sharing your experience with us. Hope you have a lovely day.

    Warmly,

    Meaghan (Migraine.com Team)

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Chris Hicks

    Midway through (full) Day Two of Neuro-Stim trial…

    Yesterday I turned the stim down a bit before going to bed. Perhaps that was a mistake as I awoke to a fairly intense migraine at 6am. I turned the stim settings up. I did not take any abortive/rescue medications.

    Several hours later and the migraine is, and has been for a couple of hours, about half the intensity it was this morning. Although somewhat disappointing to see my old nemesis today, I am reminded of the fact that the threshold for success is a 50% improvement in intensity and/or frequency. The stim was never described as something that would completely remove the migraines from my life.

    This feels like the kind of migraine that would normally ramp up all the way to the top of the pain scale. The fact that I have made it to the afternoon with no real progression of the migraine is significant. The abortive/rescue medications have not been very effective. I suspect that I would be in pretty bad shape by now without the stim.

    I have, not counting today, five full days remaining of the trial period. So far I have one day of near complete migraine relief and one day, today, of a battle between migraine and stim where stim is at least holding its ground in the face of migraine’s attack.

    More to come as I continue on this journey.

    Take Care,
    MB

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Chris Hicks

    Please allow me to post an update regarding the external trial of the neurostimulator…

    Counting the day of the procedure today is the beginning of the fifth day of the trial of an external Neurostimulator (bilateral supraorbital and occipital leads).
    If you have read any of my previous posts you may know that, for me, migraine is a chronic daily event. Considering that fact I would call the trial, to-date, a success. It breaks down like this…

    Tuesday: Trial begins with a mid-morning procedure to place the leads and tape on all the external wires and such. Between not eating, the procedure and the ride home this day was a wash (with migraine ruling the day).

    Wednesday: Physically recovering from the procedure. Migraine was completely gone throughout the entire day!

    Thursday: I made the mistake of turning the stimulator off while I slept. This allowed a migraine to sneak in and grab a foothold. The stimulator was not able to push the migraine out, but it did keep it near the middle of the pain scale (rather than the top). By late evening I was feeling much better with the migraine almost completely gone.

    Friday: Another spectacular day! No migraine for the whole day except an hour before bedtime. Then it started up. The stimulator is really changing the pattern and duration of the migraines.

    Saturday (this morning’s post): I woke up to the lack of tingling from the stimulator. I discovered that the wire/cable that connects to the external stimulator had pulled out somewhere during the night. And, like Thursday morning, this allowed the migraine to get a foothold. I immediately plugged in the cable and started the stimulator. The migraine is mostly front left side so I used my custom configurable program to crank up the left supraorbital lead. After an hour or so of quiet meditation the migraine is down from a 6 or 7 to a 4, heading toward a 3.

    If the goal is 50% improvement, then I would definitely call the trial a success so far! I am scheduled to have my “end of trial” appointment on Tuesday of next week. That gives me the weekend plus Monday to continue with the trial.

    Here’s to a great weekend!!!

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Meaghan Coneys Moderator

    Hi Chris Hicks,

    Thanks again for all the updates and keeping us abreast on your progress. Sounds like it’s all going really well! Please continue to keep us posted. We definitely appreciate you sharing your experience with us. Thanks again and hope you have a lovely day.

    Warmly,

    Meaghan (Migraine.com Team)

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply
  • By Crystal – age 41

    Thank you for your helpful post Chris Hicks. I hope that you and others can help me. I have chronic migraine for over 5 years, and am considering the Reed procedure since the drug approach does not give me the relief if need to care for my family and have a real life. I see a number of different things about the insurance payment – sometimes paying for the procedure, and other times not. I need to know: 1) Did your insurance pay for this procedure 2) How much did it cost 3) Did it work. Can you PLEASE help, as I really want to find a solution. I sincerely appreciate any help you can offer. My biggest fear is that the insurance says they will pay, and then they do not. I live in Texas. Thank you again – I really appreciate your help.

    Reply Created with Sketch. reply