New York, NY – Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, is the first in New York City to implant a new, groundbreaking MRI-compatible spinal cord stimulator for chronic pain relief. The implantation procedure was performed on March 28th by Mitchell Levine, MD, Director of Spine Surgery on 40-year-old New Yorker Kim Ford-Brown.
Medtronic’s SureScan MRI neuromodulation system, which provides relief to chronic pain sufferers by sending mild electrical pulses to the painful area in order to block pain signals between the spinal cord and the brain, is the first and only spinal cord stimulator that allows safe access to MRI scans on any part of the body. It is also the only device of its kind to automatically adjust stimulation based on the patient’s needs in various body positions.
Ford-Brown suffers from Intractable Pain Syndrome, a condition of severe, perpetual pain that is incurable and frequently causes those affected to be house- or bed-bound. She has endured excruciating backaches for the last 13 years. Though she has tried different treatments over the years – from physical therapy to injections – none has been effective enough to improve her quality of life. Persistent pain often prevented Ford-Brown from leaving her home and participating in family and church activities with her husband and teenage son.
After last week’s procedure at Lenox Hill, however, her whole life changed. “The relief was immediate; I was feeling amazing a week after the surgery,” said Ford-Brown. “If I need an MRI, I’m just grateful I won’t have a problem getting one.”
MRI scans have become a diagnostic standard of care and according to Medtronic, more than 80 percent of patients with spinal cord stimulators will need an MRI on some part of the body within five years of receiving the implant. In the past, patients could only have MRI scans safely done on the brain, as the heat generated during the exam could damage the device or, worse, cause tissue burns in other areas of the body. As a result, patients would either be forced to forgo the diagnostic test or be required to undergo an expensive and inconvenient removal and re-implantation of the device.
“Our goal as healthcare providers is to provide patients with more options to improve their quality of life not to limit them,” said Dr. Levine. “This revolutionary system will now allow us to offer chronic-pain sufferers significant, long-lasting relief without restricting their access to the benefits of optimal diagnostic imaging offered by MRIs.”
About Lenox Hill Hospital
Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, is a 652-bed, fully accredited, acute care hospital located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. US News & World Report has ranked the hospital among the nation’s top 50 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery and among the top 10 hospitals in the state of New York with a total of 11 “high performing” designations for its clinical performance in Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. For more information, go to www.lenoxhillhospital.org.