Deep Brain Implants

by Bionic Kate


No I'm not kidding. I have two electrodes inserted deeply into my brain connected to two implanted battery packs. The electrodes have two functions. One partially blocks the pain messages between the brain and the targeted left leg. The second electrode increases endorphin levels.

Three questions I am frequently asked:

Do the batteries need changing? Yes, but they last for years before they run out of juice.

Do I set off security alarms. Not yet. :) I have a letter from my doctor that I keep with me when I fly.

Do they help manage the pain? Yes. I have been told I received better than expected results. Since the initial injury, this is the one and only time I've heard that statement!

One hitch. Before I get a haircut, I ask the stylist if she's squeamish. Obviously, the surface of my skull is full of funny lumps and bumps from connecting hardware.

Comments for Deep Brain Implants

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Pain control for back pain
by: Bionic Kate

After viewing the electrodes in my brain on xray, I know why they call them DEEP brain implants. To say the image gives me occasional pause would be an understatement. The decision to have the surgery wasn't a light one.

A freak accident involved twisting. The pain was severe and the doctor visits, medication, physical therapy etc began. 30 minutes just to get out of the car. You know... anyone with extreme back pain understands.

Then discs out, spine fused which actually helped much of the creepy slipping, sliding, popping, tearing in the low back. But the verdict was in. Inflammation had taken up residence and wasn't moving out. In fact, it was getting worse.

The US government has since ruled that implants can be used for Parkinson patients only. But I am one of the success stories from using it to control chronic spinal pain. (Parkinson patients only have 1 electrode which is implanted in a different area of the brain.)

Not to say this is a panacea. I had to give up my beloved mortgage company. Ice is part of my daily life.

But I participate in our family. I go to the gym and walk -slowly- on a treadmill. Yesterday I took a stroll around our neighborhood and dropped off someone at the airport. I have since created and author 3 websites that I work on daily. I don't take any of this for granted.

Here's a tip. You don't have to spend a fortune on flexible ice blankets used in PT. Go to Target's camping section and for under $4, buy Rubbermaid's Blue Ice. The kind you want are thin flexible sheets, rolled up in a box. The small rectangles are intended to be separated and popped into your drinks to cool them off when you go camping.

Obviously, don't cut the rectangles apart. I position two sheets at a time, one horizontal across my low back and the other vertical, above the fusion. Eventually they will leak but for $4, the benefit can't be beat.

In fact I am icing while I comment. :) Kate

Please tell us more
by: Dave

Bionic Kate,
This is a very interesting story. Can you or would you mind giving us more details about your case?

I have heard that they were doing experiments with this sort of technology. But I was unaware that some people actually had these implanted.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and about your pain history or injury before your implants. What kinds of pain is this being used for?

Where was your surgery performed? How long ago? Are you completely off of the pain medicine?

I am not trying to be nosey, or pry into your personal life but this is very intriguing information. Whatever additional information you feel comfortable sharing with us would be wonderful.

Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Dave

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