Patient Receives New Pain-Control Technology at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center

November 12, 2013

Cheyenne, WY—In October Dr. Steven Beer became the first surgeon in Wyoming to implant the only FDA-approved neurostimulation device for the treatment of chronic back pain that also allows for a full-body Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan. The surgery was performed at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

Neurostimulation uses a medical device placed under the skin to deliver mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord. The impulses block pain signals from reaching the brain.

An estimated 100 million Americans are affected by chronic pain, and neurostimulation treatment has become a mainstay of chronic pain management.

“Before the development of the new technology, removal of spinal cord stimulation devices to ensure a safe full-body MRI was unavoidable,” said Dr. Beer, a neurosurgeon in practice at Wyoming Spine & Neurosurgery in Cheyenne.

“Patients with neurostimulation systems for managing chronic pain were previously denied an MRI scan due to concerns about the system being affected by the large magnetic fields and radio frequency energy involved in MRI,” Beer said.

“Devices could be at risk for overheating, or the MRI could interfere with the device’s signal,” Beer said. “With the new technology, patients who receive a neurostimulation device to manage their chronic back pain now have access to the full benefits of full-body MRI scans without compromising their healthcare.”

Without access to a full-body MRI, a patient could risk delayed diagnosis or inaccurate identification of a serious health condition. MRI is a standard of care in the diagnosis and treatment of major health conditions, including cancer, stroke and neurological problems.

MRI scans allow physicians to make a wide range of health diagnoses by viewing detailed images of internal organs, blood vessels, muscle, joints and other internal structures. MRI uses the strong magnetic fields and radio frequency pulses to create images of structures inside the body.

“MRI scans in the United States have nearly doubled in the last decade, with 32 million scans performed in 2011,” Beer said. “Yet many people using a well-established treatment to manage their chronic pain were previously unable to have a full-body MRI scan due to safety concerns. This new device helps solve this concern.”

The new neurostimulation therapy was developed by Medtronic, the world’s largest medical technology company.

Medtronic’s neurostimulation systems with SureScan MRI technology and Vectris SureScan MRI percutaneous leads are specially designed to eliminate hazards from an MRI scan. The technology also includes a feature that sets the device into an appropriate mode for undergoing an MRI.

Beer said the patient with the new device is happy with the outcome. “She feels much better since the device was implanted. While she hasn’t had to undergo an MRI, she knows that’s an option if the need ever arises.”