(10/21/13) - A new device could dramatically change life for people who suffer chronic back pain. Implanted devices are proving effective, but make it unsafe to receive MRI scans. That is a problem, making it difficult to diagnose the source of future pain. A new first-of-its-kind FDA approved device is changing that.
For years, a simple walk with her dog Carmen was just too painful for Susan Hennen, "on a scale of one to 10, a 14, or 12, or beyond."
Susan suffered with back pain for more than two decades, "I was depressed. I didn't want to live a life on Oxycodone."
She considered an implantible spinal cord stimulator, a device similar to a pacemaker, that works by interrupting pain signals to the brain. But she was concerned about not being able to have future MRI.
"It is a breakthrough, significant breakthrough," says Dr. Asokumar Buvanendran of Rush University Medical School.
Buvanedran says the Sure-Scan neuro-stimulator has specially designed leads that make it MRI safe. So, it is allowing doctors to still diagnose the possible patient problems of tomorrow, while taking care of the pain today.
"If you're able to get him or her back to functionality, it's huge," the doctor said.
Susan had the device implanted two weeks ago and is already feeling the difference, "I'm glad I did it. I'm really glad I did it."
Patients considering the device can do a trial- wearing an external neuro-stimulator around their waist during a week-long screening test to see what kind of relief they can expect for their chronic pain with a permanent implant.
ABC12 Main Station