Regulators in Europe just approved St. Jude’s Prodigy MRI spinal cord stimulation system for use with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and novel Burst stimulation technology, said a company press release.
“Clinical experience suggests that while relief from chronic pain remains the primary need for patients seeking spinal cord stimulation therapy, some patients who may benefit from SCS therapy may also need future MRI scans,” said Dr. Athanasios Koulousakis, Head of Department Functional Neurosurgery, Spasticity and Pain, University Hospital in Cologne, Germany.
“So while the number of SCS patients requiring future MRIs may be limited, it is still critical to remove barriers to diagnostic options. Yet just as critical is providing MRI capability in SCS solutions that provide access to new therapy options, such as St. Jude Medical’s Burst stimulation. The new Prodigy MRI system helps put all such requirements into one package for our patients,” he added.
Spinal cord stimulation treats chronic pain by delivering doses of electrical signals to the spinal cord. Those signals modulate (change) pain signals traveling up the spinal cord before they reach the brain. The experience is often described as a tingling sensation instead of pain.
That “tingling” sensation refers to what is called paresthesia, which is an abnormal sensation, but one that is much preferred to chronic pain. St. Jude claims the Prodigy MRI delivers “tonic” stimulation, which is a constant delivery of stimulation at a particular frequency.
The “Burst” stimulation is a new way of delivering electrical current to the spinal cord. Instead of constant stimulation, the Prodigy MRI can deliver bursts of “intermittent packets of stimuli.” According to St. Jude, “Burst stimulation may be a new option for patients whose pain is not adequately controlled, or for those who lose therapeutic benefit over time with tonic SCS alone.”
“Burst stimulation is a novel technology for SCS that has the potential to be effective in patients that do not respond well to traditional tonic stimulation. Studies have shown that with Burst stimulation patients can experience reduced paresthesia and pay less attention to their pain improving their overall experience with SCS therapy,” said Dr. Ivar Mendez, M.D., Ph.D, FRCSC, FACS, from Saskatoon Health Region’s Royal University Hospital in Saskatchewan, Canada.
“SCS therapy can provide significant pain relief and thus enable many patients to increase their activity levels and improve their overall quality of life. In combination with conventional tonic stimulation, Burst stimulation represents a comprehensive approach to effective pain management and allows me to tailor the therapy to my patient’s unique situation,” Dr. Mendez added.
National Pain Report has reported extensively on spinal cord stimulation therapy. Here is a series we did on Phil Meade as he considered spinal cord stimulation to treat his pain. We’d like to hear from others who have tried spinal cord stimulation.