Saint Luke's Now Offers MRI Compatible Neuromodulation Therapy

Aug 12, 2013, 11:28 ET from Saint Luke's Health System

Saint Luke's Neuroscience Institute is one of the first hospitals in the region to offer Neuromodulation Therapy Option for Chronic Pain Relief

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Aug. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Saint Luke's Neuroscience Institute is now one of the first neuroscience hospitals in the region to offer neuromodulation therapy utilizing MRI compatible technology.

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic leg, arm or back pain.  Neuromodulation, also known as spinal cord stimulation (SCS), can often provide highly effective chronic pain relief.  Recent technological advances have now resulted in the development of an MRI compatible spinal cord stimulation system, creating the opportunity for treatment and pain relief for many patients who previously could not receive treatment.

Spinal cord stimulation involves placing electrical implants within the spinal canal, which send a mild electric current to the brain to override the body's own pain impulses. The outpatient procedure takes approximately an hour and is done under sedation anesthesia. The initial implants are placed using a minimal invasive technique, and are placed on a trial basis to determine if the electrodes are successful in providing a 50% to 100% reduction in pain. If the trial is successful then the permanent implants are placed one week later. 

However, due to the previous design and metal composition, spinal cord stimulation implants were incompatible with MRI technology and rendered future MRI testing unsafe for those who had the spinal implantations. MRI testing is frequently a necessary diagnostic tool for patients suffering from many chronic pain conditions and as a result the neuromodulation therapy was eliminated as a possible treatment option by many patients and their physicians.

"Spinal cord stimulation is an important neuromodulation therapy that can provide dramatic relief for people battling chronic pain or peripheral neuropathy," said Stephen E. Griffith, M.D., Saint Luke's Neuroscience Institute neurosurgeon. "This new MRI compatible system creates a new option for hundreds of patients who previously had elected to not receive neuromodulation due to future diagnostic limitations."

Dr. Griffith, a fellowship trained, functional neurosurgeon, who has experienced a 90% trial-to-implant success rate in his patients, goes on to say this also presents a new opportunity for previous neuromodulation patients.

"It is also possible to replace the traditional implants with the new MRI compatible system," said Griffith.  "Which means previous spinal cord stimulation patients can now also benefit from MRI testing if the need arises.  This was an option previously unavailable to them."

Additional information about neuromodulation and Dr. Stephen Griffith is available at

About the Saint Luke's Neuroscience Institute

Saint Luke's Neuroscience Institute, a member of Saint Luke's Health System, is a global leader in utilizing both drug and mechanical interventions to block and reverse the permanent and debilitating effects of ischemic strokes. Its legacy of innovation began in 1993 when doctors performed one of the world's first intra-arterial stroke reversal procedures. Since then, Saint Luke's specialists have continued to pioneer new stroke treatments and reverse stroke's debilitating effects for thousands of patients, and is one of the world's most experienced and prolific leaders in the use of Tissue Plasminogen Activator (t-PA), a clot-busting medication for treatment of ischemic stroke. SLNI, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, brings together a team of the country's most accomplished neurologists to provide a comprehensive treatment center for the most complex neurological issues, such as stroke, epilepsy, brain tumors, facial pain, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, headaches, aneurysms, and the latest in minimally invasive spinal surgical techniques.  SLNI's advancements in neurology have made it a national leader in neurological treatment and care.

SOURCE Saint Luke's Health System