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General Health Channel
Reported December 20, 2013

Pacemaker Stops Pain

DENVER, Co. (Ivanhoe Newswire) --We are all familiar with pacemakers for the heart, but the devices are also used for a variety of health problems.  Pacemakers for pain have been around for decades with limited success, but some patients are finding relief, if they are willing to be awake during part of the surgery.

“It was like a stabbing pain that just would never go away,” Ashlee Lipinski told Ivanhoe.

“There was so much pain. It was just debilitating,” Kim Lipinski told Ivanhoe.

Mother and daughter were both suffering with chronic pain.

Neurosurgeon Giancarlo Barolat is a pioneer in using pacemakers to help control chronic pain. Dr. Barolat has perfected the science of testing the devices while the patient is awake during surgery, so they can tell him exactly where the pain is coming from.

“They can tell me very precisely where they feel the pain and whether they feel the stimulation,” Giancarlo Barolat, MD, Presbyterian/Saint Luke’s Medical Center, told Ivanhoe.

Dr.  Barolat implanted the pacemakers of Kim and her daughter Ashlee.

“I did not remember it what so ever,” Kim said.

An electrode is implanted on the nerves, or spinal cord, in an area strategically designated to relieve the pain. The electricity that passes through the electrode is generated by a pacemaker implanted under the skin. 

The patient can adjust the electrical impulses with a remote control.

“I would say mine is 90 percent successful,” Kim explained.

The procedure does not cure pain, but has a 50 to 75 percent chance of providing relief and that’s enough for Kim and Ashlee.

Dr.  Barolat says the pacemaker for pain can also help people with chronic headaches and back pain who have not responded to conventional treatments. MORE.

More Information

Click here for additional research on Pacemaker Stops Pain

Click here for Ivanhoe's full-length interview Dr. Giancarlo Barolat

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas, mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

 

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