St. Joe’s Completes Landmark Surgery

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HMHP pain specialist is first in Ohio to implant new MRI-safe neurostimulation system.

St. Joseph Health Center; St. Joe's; St. Joseph; HMHP; Humility of Mary Health; St. Joseph Pain Management; Pain Management

Tracy L. Neuendorf, D.O.

An interventional pain management specialist at St. Joseph Health Center has completed the first procedure in Ohio to implant a new pain-block system that is safe during full-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

While implantable neurostimulation systems have been used for decades to treat patients with chronic back and limb pain, this is the only implantable system safe for patients undergoing MRI, reports Dr. Tracy L. Neuendorf, medical director and board-certified interventional pain management specialist at St. Joseph Pain Management Center.

Dr. Neuendorf completed the first procedure in Ohio to implant the new device, a RestoreSensor SureScan MRI with Vectris SureScan MRI percutaneous leads, Aug. 5. Since then, he has implanted the new system in several other patients and “all of them are doing very well and seem to be happy with it,” he says.

Neurostimulation systems, also known as spinal cord stimulation or SCS systems, are placed under the patient’s skin and deliver mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord, preventing pain signals from reaching the brain.

The RestoreSensor SureScan MRI with Vectris SureScan MRI percutaneous leads is one of four new Medtronic neurostimulation systems to receive recent approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The primary difference between the new system and those used previously, Dr. Neuendorf explains, is that the new system is made of a special material – not metal. This special material reduces or eliminates hazards the strong magnetic fields and radio frequency pulses used in MRI present for patients with neurostimulators.

This is important because implantation of neurostimultation systems is often the last resort for patients with chronic pain, he says, and because the medical conditions that cause their pain are often tracked using MRI. Now, Dr. Neuendorf says, those patients need not undergo surgery to have the neurostimulator removed before undergoing MRI.

MRI scans provide detailed images of organs, muscle, joints, blood vessels, tumors and areas of infection – soft tissue rather than bone – and are increasingly used to diagnose a wide range of health issues. More than 32 million MRI scans – more than one every second – are performed in the United States each year.

About Humility of Mary Health Partners:

Humility of Mary Health Partners is an integrated health system located in the Youngstown/Warren area. It is a region of Catholic Health Partners (CHP) in Cincinnati, the largest health system in Ohio and one of the largest Catholic health systems in the United States. HMHP provides a full spectrum of health care services, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency, urgent care, home care and long-term care. Members are St. Elizabeth Health Center, St. Joseph Health Center, St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center, HM Home Health Services, The Assumption Village, Humility House, Hospice of the Valley and Laurel Lake. Learn more about HMHP online at

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