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Spinal implant is first in UK to be MRI-safe
A NORTH-EAST anaesthetist has carried out the first UK implant of a new spinal cord stimulation system - designed to reduce back pain - which is compatible with advanced body scanners.
The procedure was carried out by Dr Sam Eldabe at The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, using a 'SureScan' system developed by Medtronic.
In the past, patients who have had a spinal cord stimulator fitted were unable to undergo an MRI scan due to the high magnetic forces used in the scan and concerns about device safety.
Medtronic developed a system which is compatible with MRI scanners and allows patients with the device to have a scan safely.
This is done by turning the device into a 'SureScan' mode, similar to turning a mobile phone to 'airplane mode'.
The procedure involves in two stages. Firstly, the leads are implanted and then about a fortnight later the neurostimulator is implanted.
Dr Eldabe said the technology was particularly helpful for patients with long term conditions who need regular MRI scans.
Heather Gelder, 54, of Thirsk, North Yorkshire, is the first patient in the UK to receive the MRI-compatible stimulator.
She said "I have suffered with chronic back pain for years, had four previous back operations so I can really feel the difference. I'm really impressed with the relief this procedure has given me."
"I rate my pain at around 70 per cent less than it was prior to the implant. I wish I could have had this years ago.
"It's fantastic and what an honour it is to be the first patient in the UK to have this MRI-safe stimulator implanted."
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