Mayo Clinic is now offering chronic pain sufferers a new, implantable pain-blocking device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — that is safe for full-body MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, scanners. The device is an advancement on neurostimulation technology that's been is use for decades, but has been denied many patients who would likely need ongoing MRI scans.
Also called spinal cord stimulation, the small, battery-powered transmitters deliver signals through electrical leads implanted along the spinal cord. The signals interfere with pain messages traveling from nerves to the brain. Mayo Clinic pain medicine specialist, Halena Gazelka, M.D., says the devices work extremely well for the majority of people with intractable back, arm and leg pain. But, until now, she's had to tell numerous patients they couldn't use one because MRI scans were more important for managing their medical conditions.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Halena (hah-LEE-nah) Gazelka (gah-ZEL-kah) and b-roll of the device, x-rays and a spinal model are available in the downloads.