NNUH implants first spinal cord stimulation system that is MRI compatible in the region

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has carried out the first implant in the East of England of a new spinal cord stimulation system that is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compatible.

Dr Michael Sidery, Pain Management consultant at the NNUH who performed this operation on 25th March 2013 on Hayley Waller by using a ‘SureScan’ technology system developed by Medtronic.

In the past, patients who have had a spinal cord stimulator fitted have been unable to have an MRI scan due to the high magnetic forces used in the scan and concerns about device safety. Medtronic has developed a system which is compatible with MRI scanners and allows patients with the device to have an MRI scan safely. This is done by turning the device into a ‘SureScan’ mode, similar to turning a mobile phone to ‘airplane mode’.

The procedure needs to be undertaken in two stages. Firstly the leads are implanted and then about a fortnight later the neurostimulator is implanted.

Dr Sidery says there are significant benefits for the patient. He said “MRI scans are becoming the imaging investigation of choice in many illnesses; the fact that patients had to choose between long term pain relief or having MRI scans made these stimulators an imperfect solution for many patients. With the SureScan system patients no longer have to compromise particularly those with long term conditions requiring MRI scan surveillance”

Following an assessment, Hayley Waller from Aylsham was found to be a suitable candidate to receive the MRI-compatible stimulator and is the first patient in the East of England to meet the strict criteria.

The 42 year-old said “It’s fantastic and what an honour it is to be the first patient in the region to have this MRI-safe stimulator implanted. I have previously had MRI scans to try and find out the cause of my leg pain so it’s great that I have had this implant fitted and still be able to have MRI scans. Since the implant has been fitted I can really feel the difference and I’m really impressed with the relief this procedure has given me. I now rate my pain much less than it was before I had the implant and I have already stopped taking some of my pain killers. Dr Sidery and the staff have been brilliant and very supportive and it has made me a much happier and brighter person.

Notes for editors

If you wish to know more about the Medtronic system, please contact Jon Pike on 01923 205128 or email him at jon.pike@medtronic.com.

Tuesday 23rd of April 2013 10:00:17 AM