Spinal Cord Stimulators – MRI scans never again


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Spinal cord stimulators may not help, but once placed, the wire leads can never be removed. People do not realize that they can never have an MRI scan no matter how much they need one. Wire leads are placed on the spinal cord and powerful magnets cannot go near those wires.

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It’s tragic. Patients say no one told them. People live for decades with useless hardware embedded on their cord. The wires become encased by scar on nerve tissue, the cord itself. Should that person ever develop cancer, stroke, infections, seizures, Multiple Sclerosis, fractures, etc, and need a scan, an MRI is not possible.

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It’s easy to ignore any future need for MRI scans when all the experts are giving an ultimatum telling you these stimulators can help your pain. With CDC’s lower opioid guidelines in March 2016 that dropped doses for millions, there might even be a huge bonanza for the companies that make these partially tested devices.

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A list of words in the informed consent is not the same as seeing videos of patients who have had to deal with serious problems from them. It’s very sad, tragic, facing cancer or other conditions that cannot be studied adequately.

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After billions in profit, there is no long term study showing how effective they are after five years, and even after two. It’s time to know the true cost and benefit analysis. But that will never be known, not once the green light was given and money started rolling in.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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8 Responses to “Spinal Cord Stimulators – MRI scans never again”

  1. Paul P. Zawicki Says:

    There was a study cited by a RSD guest speaker (MD) who stated that a stimulator worked for about 3 years and after those years there was no difference between having a stimulator or not having one in terms of pain.

    • Nancy Sajben MD Says:

      There was a 5 year study in the Netherlands as I recall. No help after two years. Be aware I see many people who had problems after a few days and it had to be turned off. Some of them have posted on this site.

    • Elizabeth Cedeno Says:

      I’m paraplegic today because of Saint Jude cord stimulator implant, 1 hour later, the surgeon woke me up to tell me that, He would have to go back in and removed it, because I was paralyzed from my breast down to my feet, So got taken out, But I lost my normal mobility I had before the surgery, I lived with constant pain from previous back surgeries… I had no idea of how dangerous this procedure was, No One Told Me!!! I could had stayed taking opiates for life if I new this could happen, I’m 56 years old, I have children and grand children, a husband.
      It’s been 2 months since the night mirror began I just got home for spending a month and half in 2 different hospitals, needles to say I developed and staph infection on the surgery so I spend 4 nights in ICI.
      I still can’t walk on my own, I move with assistance of a walker and a wheelchair, I have MORE PAIN THAT BEFORE!!!, the nerves on my torso and legs are horribly crazy, terrible spasms everywhere day and night I numb everywhere below my breast to my feet and my body is stiff. It’s not fair that no lawyer would touch my surgeon or the dirty company that approves this machines? here in Florida there a high tolerance for malpractice! NOT EVEN A SLAP ON THE HANDS…
      At the end the responsibility falls on me! I was the stupid that signed all the forms, So basically is my fault this happen… I’M SCREED!!! I have gone trough so much, I have cried until I had no more tears… I fell helpless.
      One more thing, I found out my surgeon preformed a laminectomy with out my consent! I found out by looking at my records, why in world? and he did it mid section of my back, where I HAD NO PAIN OR ISSUES …
      my pain before the surgery was on my lower back and my left leg! Go figure!!!
      Thank you for listening to this long post.
      PS, PLEASE TELL ME WHERE TO WRITE OR WHO TO TALK TO ABOUT PUTTING A STOP TO THIS MACHINES…

  2. Robert Says:

    What about this article that says they have MRI compatible spinal cord stimulators? Is this true? Your thoughts are appreciated. https://professional.medtronic.com/mri/surescan-mri-clinicians/scs/surescan-system/index.htm#.WN2pui82zIU

  3. Eileen Legge Says:

    The newer models of Spinal Cord Stimulators do allow for MRI procedures, however the older ones tragically do not. I had a St. Jude “burst” modulation device implanted 2/2/17 which failed then a second one implanted 3/28/17. After several months of trial and error programming I finally have significant pain reduction in my right shoulder/arm with my hand remaining a difficult to maintain segment, phasing in and out coverage randomly. As an RSD/CRPS patient with 3 limbs involved along with stomach/intestinal involvement, arythmia and blood pressure dysfunction and a pain gradient of 8-9/10 (in the arm), that is now at 4/10, would I do it again? Yes, as I was desperate for relief regardless of the potential risks. When your body is telling you that you’re literally ‘on fire’ and all other treatments have failed, you will do anything! Needless to say it’s very early days for me and the SCS. I don’t know how things will work out in the coming months/years with regard to this device. My RSD has been very aggressive, spreading from the initial limb to 3 affected limbs in only 3 1/2 years as well as my digestive system, etc. I’m moving to San Diego next month and given the wealth of information and research that you have poured into giving your patients the best and safest treatments available I will be contacting your office for an appointment in hopes that you can alter my opioid/anticonvulsant/antispasmodic drug therapy into something much healthier that will work with my body’s natural functioning. Bless you and thank you for caring for us, the patient!
    Sincerely, Eileen

    • Nancy Sajben MD Says:

      Thank you too. Will be following your comments expectantly and with hope.

      I am booked 6 months in advance and generally not scheduling that far out.

      The key to potential remission for intractable pain is first taper off opioids. They cause inflammation in CNS (brain, cord) which causes pain. The medications I prescribe reduce inflammation. You cannot do both. Opposites.

  4. Nancy Sajben MD Says:

    Specifically thank you for saying the newer SCS’s can be used in MRI.


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