SYOSSET, NY – The first person in New York state to receive the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) spinal cord stimulator (SCS) returned to Syosset Hospital yesterday to thank the doctor who implanted the device and talk about going back to work this week for the first time since January.
Tina DiGiovanni could not stand up straight, clean her house, attend her six-year-old son’s activities or get a good night’s sleep because of debilitating back pain. The 43-year-old Lake Grove resident also needed help from her husband and mother to complete many of her routine daily activities. She had chronic pain, which is classified as lasting for more than three months and interrupting a person’s daily life.
Ms. DiGiovanni’s MRI-compatible SCS -- which was implanted by John Stamatos, MD, director of interventional pain management at Syosset Hospital -- replaces the pain sensations she previously felt with tingling ones.
“Getting the spinal cord stimulator has been life altering for me,” Ms. DiGiovanni said Wednesday at a press conference at the hospital. “I am forever indebted to Dr. Stamatos; he gave me my life back.”
The device allows her to get MRI exams without having surgery to remove the stimulator.
“It’s important for people like Tina, who have had previous back surgeries, or those with chronic illnesses, to have an MRI-compatible device,” Dr. Stamatos said. “They will need these tests performed in the future and can now receive the pain relief they need without worrying about the possibility of not getting these required tests.”
According to Medtronic, which created the MRI-compatible SCS, about 116 million American adults have chronic pain, which is more than the number of people impacted by diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.