CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- At least 100 million American adults - more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined - are affected by chronic pain. For those who can't find relief with conservative therapies, implanted devices have been proven effective, but make it unsafe to receive MRI scans. That can make it difficult to diagnose future problems. Now, there is a first of its kind FDA approved device that's changing that.
For years a simple walk with her dog Carmen was just too painful for Susan Hennen.
"On a scale of one to ten, it felt like a fourteen," said Susan.
Susan has suffered with back pain for more than two decades.
"I was depressed. I didn't want to live a life on oxycodone," Susan said.
She had considered an implantable spinal cord stimulator, a device similar to a pacemaker that works by interrupting pain signals to the brain. The problem was that the devices were not MRI safe, until now.
"It is a breakthrough, a significant breakthrough," Asokumar Buvanendran, MD, Professor, Pain Medicine, Anesthesiology, at Rush University Medical Center, told Ivanhoe.
Dr. Buvanendran says the SureScan MRI neurostimulator has specially designed leads seen here, making it MRI safe.
It allows doctors to still diagnose the possible patient problems of tomorrow, while taking care of the pain today.
"If you're able to get him or her back to functionality, it's huge," Dr. Buvanendran said.
Susan had the device implanted two weeks ago and is already feeling the difference.
"I'm really glad I did it," Susan said.
Patients considering the device can do a trial before making it permanent. Patients wear an external neurostimulator around their waist during the week-long screening test to see what kind of relief they can expect for their chronic pain.