Medtronic’s MRI-Friendly Neurostimulators Hit The Streets

In short

Medtronic, Inc. has introduced in Europe the first and only implantable neurostimulation systems indicated for use in the treatment of chronic back and/or leg pain that are designed for full-body Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans under specific conditions.


Medtronic neurostimulation therapy for chronic pain uses a medical device placed under a patient’s skin to deliver mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord, which act to block pain signals from going to the brain. Instead of pain, patients feel a tingling sensation from the neurostimulation in areas where they had previously experienced pain.

Medtronic SureScan neurostimulation systems address a significant medical need for full-body MRI compatibility by enabling patients who are receiving Medtronic neurostimulation therapy for chronic back and/or leg pain (also called spinal cord stimulation, or SCS) to have access to the benefits of full-body MRI. Until now, SCS patients were denied full-body MRI scans because of fears of the system being affected by the large magnets involved in MRI.

Physician comments 

“Neurostimulation therapy has become a mainstay of chronic pain management, and the introduction of full-body, MRI-compatible spinal cord stimulation systems is an important advancement that will help ensure neurostimulation patients have access to the diagnostic tools needed to quickly identify potentially critical health conditions,” said Dr. JP Van Buyten from the AZ Niklaas Hospital in Belgium, one of the first to implant the new system.

Company comments 

“Delivering systems that are compatible with a full-body MRI scan means that spinal cord stimulation patients will not have to compromise when it comes to their healthcare, and they can feel secure knowing that MRI is a diagnostic option,” said Julie Foster, general manager and vice president, Pain Stimulation and Targeted Drug Delivery in the Neuromodulation business of Medtronic, Inc. “Medtronic’s development of these systems is another example of our commitment to advancing increasingly innovative and cost effective solutions that make it easier for clinicians to safely, effectively and efficiently diagnose and treat the patients they serve.”

Regulatory status 

Medtronic SureScan neurostimulation systems for the treatment of chronic pain are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States.

Source: Medtronic, Inc.