Services & Specialties November 26, 2013

Adena Surgeons Among the First to Use New Spine Stimulator

The physicians of Adena Pain Management have been selected among the first in the nation to offer patients a new, MRI-safe spinal cord stimulator technology. Kort Gronbach, MD and Mark Malinowski, MD were selected to implant the SureScan® device in patients over the past several weeks, with patients achieving excellent results. The Adena Pain Management duo are the only surgeons in south central and southeastern Ohio implanting the devices.

“The spinal cord stimulator is like a pacemaker for the spine,” said Dr. Malinowski. Stimulator technology has been used for over 30 years, and is becoming more and more common as an effective treatment for chronic back, leg and arm pain. Dr. Gronbach added, “Spinal stimulation is probably one of the best technologies we can use to get people back to a functional state; where they are controlling their pain without medication and getting back to work.”

The new device by Medtronic is revolutionary because it allows the patient with a spinal cord stimulator to have MRI testing if needed. Previously, patients in need of regular MRIs, such as those with Multiple Sclerosis, were not candidates for spinal cord stimulation due to the danger of the leads overheating and damaging the equipment and the patient’s tissue. The new MRI-compatible technology evenly distributes the heat created when the stimulator comes in contact with the radio waves from the MRI, eliminating past “hot spot” problems.

“I’ve been doing stimulator work for over 10 years, and this is huge,” said Dr. Gronbach. “We were anxious to find out if the technology was as good as they say it is. We found the equipment implants very well, and our patients are doing great with it.”

Spinal stimulators are used to give patients better function and symptom control for a variety of limb pain caused by injury, failed back surgeries and chronic illness, such as diabetes. “In interventional pain management, it really is becoming the standard of care,” said Dr. Malinowski. “Before stimulation we try traditional therapy, injection therapy and then we get to stimulation. However, as the new technology evolves, we are seeing a lot of folks getting stimulators sooner than later depending on their pathology.”

There are many disease states that result in chronic pain, and both physicians encourage patients to seek help when they have constant pain or discomfort. “Many patients feel they have to suffer with their pain, or they feel if they go to a pain clinic they are going to be put on narcotics and become addicted,” said Dr. Gronbach.  “Both of these misconceptions are completely false. We have a whole book of treatments we can offer patients with various pain conditions.”

Learn more about the services provided by Adena Pain Management or call at (740) 779-7460 for appointment information.