Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Albany Medical Center First Hospital to Implant Latest Spinal Cord Stimulator Technology for Chronic Pain Relief

ALBANY, N.Y., October 28, 2014 — Albany Medical Center recently was the first hospital in the nation to implant the latest device in spinal cord stimulator technology to address chronic pain in backs and legs, among other areas.

Neurosurgeon Julie Pilitsis, M.D., Ph.D., who performed the procedure, said the new technology, called the CoverEdge system, allows surgeons to more accurately target pain relief through spinal cord stimulation.

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a surgical technique used to help patients with chronic pain by surgically implanting thin wires along the spinal cord.  Controlled by a hand held remote, the wires deliver electrical pulses that interrupt the pain signal that is being carried by the spinal nerve to the brain and replacing it with a tingling sensation. The remote control can be programmed by the patient’s medical team to best target the impulses based on the location and intensity of the patient’s pain.

“New technology is allowing us to individualize care and pain relief better than ever before,” Dr. Pilitsis said.  She said the device can target up to 32 points of contact along the spine, allowing for flexibility and better control of the electrical impulses delivered to the spine.

Spinal cord stimulation is FDA approved for patients with chronic leg or back pain, complex regional pain syndrome, nerve damage, neuropathy or neuritis when pain medications and other methods do not help.

Dr. Pilitsis notes that programming of the device not only has the potential to be more effective, but much faster because the computer algorithm allows for multiple complex configurations.

“There are so many different exciting directions the field of surgical stimulation is going in,” said Dr. Pilitsis. “We are excited to be the first to offer these advanced capabilities to our patients suffering from chronic pain, in hopes of giving back their quality of life.”

Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 734-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region’s largest physicians practice with more than 400 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region’s health and quality of life. For more information: www.amc.edu or www.facebook.com/albanymedicalcenter.

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