Pain Pumps and MRI Scans

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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 11032
   Posted 8/6/2010 1:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone, we were just talking about this in another post not long ago. Many of us with pain pumps are under the impression that we cannot have MRI's because of our pain pumps. I just finished reading my monthly newsletter from Medtronics the maker of my pump and we have been given some bad information by our drs no less. People with the Synchromed II pumps have been getting MRI's done in an MRI machine called the 1.5 Tesla, all approved by the FDA. The FDA just aproved a a better machine called the 3-Tesla. They say the difference is the strength of the magnetic field, increased imaging clarity and reliability of th scan itself. This is very good news for us with the Syncromed II pump.
Another note was 24% of scans done have been head scans and people with certain Medtronic SCS units can have MRI's of the head. Medtronics is the only company withthe SCS that has been approved by the FDA for the MRI's of the head. There was a footnote that this excludes the Itrel3, Mattrix & X-trel neuro-stim models.
Recently while at the dr waiting to get my pump refilled I spoke with two patients that have intrathecal pain pumps that are not maintained and run off of a battery. Both said they have had their pumps for two years and have not had any problems. What this means is no more having to have your battery replaced and a new pump put in every 6-7 years. I have had my pump 5 years and I have dreaded the thought of another surgery for another pump because it was not an easy surgery. Somehow they said the pump is controlled and ran off of the body. I asked the lady how long these pumps last and her reply was until you die. I do not have the name of the company that makes these but I intend on getting the name. I did ask my nurse about this pump system and she said that many of their patients have switched over to this type of pump when their battery had ran out on the old pump. They have not had any problems with these pumps to date. Supposedly, Medtronics is working on making a pump like this one. I bet they will, this has to be eating into their gravy train, as they are the leading pump makers.
I wanted to post this for other pump patients here at the forum.

crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.

Retired Mom
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Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1749
   Posted 8/6/2010 6:02 AM (GMT -6)   
This is really interesting information. I don't have a pump, but Dr's can be so confused about MRI procedures. My PCP yesterday was very concerned about doing the MRI's with my fusion rods. I had to explain to her that it was fine with the rods and screws they use now. She was still sceptical then until I told her the neurosurgeon had done them since the surgery both with and without contrast. Then, she agreed to order the tests.

It's amazing that MRI has come as far as it has.

Great information!
Retired Mom

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Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 7963
   Posted 8/6/2010 11:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Veery Interesting, Thanks Susie...
this makes these worth looking into...
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...


Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 416
   Posted 8/6/2010 3:06 PM (GMT -6)   
My mom has had the pain pump for about 2 years now. They had told her the same thing until she had to be rushed to the er for an auto accident. It was the er dr. that had told her and said that there was a lot of wrong information floating around. Pretty scarry, huh? Those that should know, don't.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2850
   Posted 8/6/2010 8:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Susie,

This is something that I will definitely be keeping an eye on in the future, as I now have an implanted neurostimulator. My unit is Medtronics, but I'm pretty sure that even if it was safe to have a head MRI with an SCS, I wouldn't be able to, as my leads are in my face & my battery is in my chest. But maybe this means that one day I will be able to have an MRI of a leg or some other body part not located near my leads/battery, if needed.

My Medtronics rep did tell me though that it is safe for me to be in the vicinity of a powered on MRI machine (even as close as the same room). I just can't be the one in the MRI machine tube.

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