Lenox Hill Hospital performed the first magnetic imaging-compatible spinal cord stimulator (SCS) procedure in Manhattan today on a 36-year-old woman. The patient has been suffering from leg pain and nerve damage since a motor vehicle accident last year. As a single parent, chronic pain had severely impaired her quality of life and ability to care for her child. After using a trial device for several days, she found she had significantly less pain and was notably more functional. Subsequently, she decided to undergo permanent implantation of the device and was the first patient in Manhattan to receive this new spinal cord stimulator system which allows patients to safely have MRI body scans, should they be required.
Patients with chronic pain who have previous versions of the device implanted have to have the device surgically removed before undergoing an MRI due to concerns that the MRI’s magnetic fields will interfere with the stimulator.
“Until now, patients with a spinal cord stimulation device could not safely get an MRI scan,” said Kiran V. Patel, M.D., who performed the procedure. “With this new technology, patients who are receiving neurostimulation therapy to manage their chronic pain now have access to the full benefits of MRI scans without compromising their health, and their physicians have the best opportunity to identify potentially life-threatening medical conditions.”
The stimulator is a device that is implanted under a patient’s skin and sends out mild electrical impulses to a person’s spinal cord. The impulses block pain signals from reaching the patient’s brain. This kind of treatment is helpful for people with chronic pain, which lasts for more than three months and is so severe it can be disabling, such as limiting a person’s activities and work schedule.
Approximately 116 million American adults experience chronic pain, which is more than the number of people who are impacted by diabetes, cancer and heart disease combined.
For more information about Dr. Patel, The Spine & Pain Institute of New York and pain management, please visit www.SpinePainNY.com For more information on Lenox Hill Hospital, please visit www.lenoxhillhospital.org.