Steven Falowski, MD, Chief of Functional Neurosurgery at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania today was the first surgeon in the world to implant Medtronic’s brand new, full-body, MRI-compatible paddle electrode leads for the Restore® neurostimulator system.
The morning surgery was performed at St. Luke’s Quakertown Hospital.
Patient Joseph Getz, age 62 of Nazareth, PA, received the Specify® SureScan® MRI surgical leads during an operation to implant Medtronic’s Restore® spinal cord stimulation system for the treatment of chronic pain. Approved just earlier this month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the Specify® SureScan® MRI surgical leads will now allow physicians to offer full-body magnetic resonance imaging for any patient with a Medtronic neurostimulator.
“All patients with a spinal cord stimulation system should have the ability to be offered the same imaging options as those without one,” said Dr. Falowski. World-renowned in the field of functional neurosurgery, as well as a board member of the North American Neuromodulation Society, Dr. Falowski was chosen by Medtronic to be the first to implant the new device given his research and passion in the field of neuromodulation, as well as his prominence as a key opinion leader for spinal cord stimulation. According to Dr. Falowski, “Patients and other health care providers are concerned about access to MRI when considering an implantable device. The approval of this technology allows me to have an option in which I can offer patients a neurostimulation system that manages their pain and provides access to the diagnostic benefits of MRI.”
According to Medtronic:
Studies show that 82 percent of patients implanted with a spinal cord stimulator are expected to need an MRI within five years of receiving their implant and Medtronic SureScan MRI neurostimulation systems offer patients the confidence of knowing that they can receive optimal diagnostic imaging anywhere in the body should the need arise. MRI scans have become a diagnostic standard of care, allowing physicians to detect a wide range of health conditions by viewing highly details images of internal organs, blood vessels, muscles, joints, tumors, areas of infection and other areas of the body by using strong magnetic fields and radio frequency pulses to create images of structures inside the body.
Prior to today’s surgery to receive a Medtronic neurostimulation system, Getz, who suffers from scoliosis, arthritis and spinal stenosis, sought relief for his chronic back and leg pain through a variety of approaches including physical therapy, pain medicine and spinal injections at St. Luke’s Spine Institute and St. Luke’s Pain Center. A successful, short-term external “trial” spinal cord stimulator confirmed that Getz would be an appropriate patient to receive a permanent spinal cord stimulator, a medical device implanted on the spine that blocks pain and improves function for patients by sending mild electrical pulses to the painful area in order to disrupt pain signals traveling between the spinal cord and the brain. Getz, who worked for many years in the manufacturing industry and who is now employed as an inventory supply clerk at St. Luke’s University Hospital, Bethlehem, says his pain has worsened in the last year and has been aggravated by physical work he has done on a bathroom remodeling project at home. Given the significant relief he received with the five-day trial stimulation Getz is eager to move forward with the permanent implant.
“Mr. Getz has a history of health concerns unrelated to his back problems requiring follow up imaging with MRI and expressed concern about the ability to obtain this imaging modality with his new device,” notes Dr. Falowski. “Having this technology available to him allows him to obtain the significant benefits of pain relief without limiting his need for follow up imaging.”