CLINICAL RESEARCH: An anaesthetist and pain specialist at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has carried out the first implant in the UK of a new spinal cord stimulation system that is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compatible.

Dr Sam Eldabe performed The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough by using a ‘SureScan’ technology system developed by Medtronic.
In the past, patients who have had a spinal cord stimulator fitted have been unable to have an MRI scan due to the high magnetic forces used in the scan and concerns about device safety. Medtronic has developed a system which is compatible with MRI scanners and allows patients with the device to have an MRI scan safely. This is done by turning the device into a ‘SureScan’ mode, similar to turning a mobile phone to ‘airplane mode’.
The procedure needs to be undertaken in two stages. Firstly the leads are implanted and then about a fortnight later the neurostimulator is implanted.
Dr Eldabe said: “MRI scans are becoming the imaging investigation of choice in many illnesses; the fact that patients had to choose between long term pain relief or having MRI scans made spinal stimulators an imperfect solution for many patients. With the SureScan system patients no longer have to compromise particularly those with long term conditions requiring MRI scan surveillance.”