|PATIENT STORY: JOHN HILGENBERG
Edward Hospital patients have a new option in managing chronic pain. A new type of medical device similar to a pacemaker can interrupt pain signals from reaching the brain and automatically adjust the pain block as the patient needs it.
Lombard resident John Hilgenberg, 59, had the AdaptiveStim with RestoreSensor neurostimulator implanted in January by Drs. Paul Manganelli and John Gashkoff, members of the Edward Medical Staff and DuPage Medical Group (DMG) pain management physicians. The result has been relief for the severe back and leg pain he’s lived with for nearly six years.
“I’m getting up and doing more things,” Hilgenberg says. “I’m on the treadmill every day. I have three dogs, and I take them for long walks – something I was not able to do before.”
Before use of the AdaptiveStim with RestoreSensor system, patients with neurostimulators complained that a change in body position – such as sitting up or lying down – could result in an increase or decrease in the intensity of stimulation as a patient’s spinal cord move closer or farther away from the stimulation site.
As a result, patients needed to make frequent manual adjustments to their stimulation levels as they moved, using a wireless controller.
|TECHNOLOGY: RESTORE SENSOR DEVICE
AdaptiveStim with RestoreSensor has motion sensor technology that automatically adapts stimulation levels to the needs of people with chronic back or leg pain. The system recognizes and remembers the correlation between a change in body position and the level of stimulation required, reducing the need for manual programming changes.
Dr. Manganelli notes use of the technology is not taken lightly and only takes place after more conservative options have failed. Patients undergo an extensive education process which culminates in a 4-5 day trial to determine if they’re a candidate to have the device permanently implanted.
Patients report a soothing, “buzzing” feeling when the stimulator is working says Dr. Gashkoff. He says patients with the new device can still manually adjust their stimulation level. They just don’t have to use the control as often.
“This particular technology is very well recognized for treating intractable pain that hasn’t responded to other therapies,” says Dr. Gashkoff. “This exciting breakthrough promises consistent pain control despite changes in body position. The device automatically adjusts stimulation so patients don't have to.”
Drs. Gashkoff and Manganelli are among the first doctors in the Chicago area to have implanted the AdaptiveStim with RestoreSensor device. They, along with Dr. Yousuf Sayeed, an anesthesiologist and pain management physician with DMG, determine if it’s appropriate for a patient to try a neurostimulator after other options have been exhausted, such as physical therapy, medications, chiropractic and other surgeries.
Hilgenberg qualified. His pain started in 2006 with spinal stenosis and two bulging discs in his lower back that radiated pain down both legs to his feet. A spinal fusion helped but never cleared up the pain, he says.
He started seeing Dr. Manganelli to manage the pain. Higher dosages of acetaminophen and hydrocodone pills and a narcotic patch seemed less effective, he says.
About a year ago, Dr. Manganelli mentioned the option of implanting a neurostimulator. Hilgenberg’s family convinced him to go through with it.
He says the neurostimulator has taken away all of his leg pain and much of his back pain. He also feels more clear-headed because he’s taking much less pain medication.
“It’s made a big difference in my outlook,” Hilgenberg says. “My family said, ‘Dad, we can tell you’re not in the pain you were in.’”
“The sophistication of the programming and battery life continues to improve,” says Dr. Manganelli. “It's a very exciting time to be involved with pain medicine. We’re very grateful to be able to offer such a powerful treatment to the appropriate patients.”
For more information, visit www.spinecenterofdupage.com or call (630) 967-6000.