When it comes to your healthcare, knowing your options is important. That's why we've put together some information we think you'll find useful, all with the goal of helping you make the right decisions.
With SCS, there are numerous imaging options available to meet your needs. While you may need a medical image in your future, it will not treat your pain. Remember, the number-one goal of SCS is to provide effective pain relief.
Boston Scientific reached out to experts to help give you more perspective when it comes to SCS and imaging.
"For virtually any indication and any part of the body, there are multiple imaging options available."
Professor of Radiology at Stanford, Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
"When it comes to SCS, needing an image or MRI is only part of your healthcare management. After all, imaging does not treat your chronic pain."
Director of Interventional Pain Service, Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School
Dr. Gold has provided an overview of some of the more commonly used medical imaging technologies.
Also called an X-ray, this type of scan involves exposing a part of the body to a small amount of radiation. The resulting images show the density and composition of internal structures.
Uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of an organ or area inside the body.
Combines special X-ray equipment with computers to produce cross-sectional images of a body area or a 3-dimensional reconstruction.
Nuclear medical scans utilize small amounts of radioactive isotopes to produce an image that can help detect areas of disease.
Uses low-energy X-rays to produce an image of the human breast to help detect masses and/or micro-calcifications.
Uses a powerful magnetic field, along with radio-frequency pulses and a computer, to produce images of organs, soft tissue, bones and other internal body structures.
All SCS systems have varying limitations and conditions related to MRI scans.
Allows for MRI scans of the full body for patients who meet the eligibility requirements.
Allows for MRI scans of the head for patients who meet the eligibility requirements.
1) ASTM F2503-13 Standard Practice for Marking Medical Devices and Other Items for Safety in the Magnetic Resonance Environment, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013,http://dx.doi.org/10.1520/F2503
2) Patients implanted with the Precision Montage™ MRI or Precision Spectra™ Spinal Cord Stimulator System with ImageReady™ MRI Technology are "MR Conditional" only when exposed to the MRI environment under the specific conditions defined in the ImageReady MRI Full Body Guidelines for Precision Montage™ MRI Spinal Cord Stimulator System and ImageReady MRI Guidelines for Precision Spectra Spinal Cord Stimulator System Manual (Head Only MRI scans). The Precision Montage MRI SCS System provides safe access to Full-Body MRI Scans only when used with the Avista MRI Leads and exposed to the MRI environment under the specific conditions defined in the ImageReady MRI Full Body Guidelines for Precision Montage™ MRI Spinal Cord Stimulator System.
Drs. Gold and Simopoulos provide easy answers to some complicated concerns.
Dr. Gold: The choice of which SCS system to implant should be made on the basis of what best treats the patient’s chronic pain. As a radiologist, my job is to find the best available and appropriate imaging to get the diagnosis that the patient may need at some point in the future.
Dr. Gold: Yes, for virtually any indication and any part of the body, there are multiple imaging options available.
Dr. Gold: There is no such thing as one diagnostic imaging option.
Dr. Gold: Yes, such as:
Dr. Gold: Radiologists are very familiar with working with patients who are not candidates for MRI due to:
In general, CT with contrast provides an excellent alternative that can make key imaging findings.
Dr. Gold: No SCS system is MR Safe. SCS systems can only be MR Conditional. Even MR Conditional SCS systems have some warnings related to MRI.
Dr. Simopoulos: The primary goal is pain relief.
Dr. Simopoulos: The key features of the Boston Scientific SCS Systems that are attractive to me include:
Dr. Simopoulos: Most imaging options are compatible with SCS systems. Since most patients with SCS have spine problems, I tell them that CT myelography is very similar to MRI in diagnostic capability.
Dr. Simopoulos: The need for MRI compatibility is a small problem that is likely to have little impact in the vast majority of chronic pain patients. The real need is to make SCS work better for patients so it’s easy for them to control their chronic pain.
Dr. Simopoulos: Patients have many options for imaging even with an implanted SCS device.
Dr. Simopoulos: I have removed one SCS system for the unique need of an MRI over my 15-year career. My colleagues share similar experiences and we can all agree this is a rare occurrence.
We've created a list of questions that will make it easy for you to discuss SCS and imaging with your doctor.
When deciding which SCS system is right for you, it’s beneficial to understand all the imaging options that are available. Here are a few questions to ask your doctor to help make your decision:
Use these resources to find a Pain Management Specialist, get information materials sent to you, talk to us, or chat with someone who is managing their pain with SCS and has been in your shoes.
The Patient Ambassador Program lets you connect with people who have chronic pain and use a Boston Scientific SCS System to treat it.
Order an in-depth info kit on SCS and our SCS Systems. Simply fill out the form and we will mail the kit to you.
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