Vol. 16, No. 2
Winthrop Neurosurgeon Offers Patients Relief From Severe Chronic Pain With Neurostimulation
Bug Bite & Once Controversial Treatment Saves Father of Six
Winthrop's New Arthritis & Rheumatic Disease Center Offers State-Of-The-Art Treatment
Winthrop First NY Metro Hospital to Receive the ASA's Initial Performance Achievement Award
Fitness Program Gets Young Cancer Patients Back in the Game
Hagedorns' Extraordinary Gift Helps Make Miracles Grow Everyday
The Miracle Foundation Gives $50,000 in Support of Cancer Center for Kids
First Annual Mardi Gras Gala Benefits Cancer Education, Research and Support Services
Retired Bank Chairman's Exceptional Generosity Benefits Winthrop's Pediatric Facilities
A Smart Way to Give
Winthrop Attracts Newest Medical Talent To Residency Program
Gifts of Love for Winthrop's Littlest Patients
Cardiac Surgeon and Family Donate in Support of Heart Surgery Center Construction
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Debra Ventura had never experienced such excruciating
Debra Ventura joyfully holds her grandson, Anthony.
"There are no words strong enough to describe
the pain I was living with," she explained. "I couldn't
even sit or stand still without being overcome with
throbbing, shooting pain that ran from my lower
back and down the entire length of my right leg."
In a month, the 49-year-old New Hyde Park
resident would become a grandmother. A supposedly
joyful time was wrought with anxiety
and distress over her debilitation and the looming
question of how she would be able to hold
Ms. Ventura's condition was initially caused
by herniated discs that compressed nerve roots
in her spine and triggered extreme back and leg
pain that radiated down to her foot. While previous
surgical procedures eliminated nerve compression,
she later developed persistent pain
that was even worse than before.
After prescription pain killers brought no relief
and cumulative sleep deprivation had taken its toll,
Ms. Ventura found her way to Michael Brisman,
MD, Chief of Neurosurgery. Dr. Brisman is wellknown
for his expertise in the successful treatment
of chronic pain using spinal neurostimulation.
Spinal neurostimulation is one of a number
of emerging neuromodulation therapies that treat
neurological problems at their source in order to
attain pain relief or symptom relief for certain
types of chronic pain and neurological disorders.
Spinal neurostimulation can be used to treat
pain in the back, neck and extremities from
causes such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis
and reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Patients with
neck or arm pain undergo placement of the neurostimulator
in the cervical spine region.
"For patients who have been experiencing
severe, intractable back or leg pain for six
months or more, this is a treatment option that
really should be considered before more invasive
procedures like spinal fusion, which has a long
recovery time and may ultimately limit one's
range of motion," explained Dr. Brisman.
Spinal neurostimulation requires two minimally
invasive surgeries performed within a span
of three to five days. During the first procedure,
an inch-and-a-half-long incision is made in the
lumbar spine region, where leads (thin cables
consisting of metal electrodes) are threaded
through a catheter and placed near the lower
thoracic region of the spinal cord. The leads are
connected by wires to an external battery source
that sends electrical impulses to block pain messages
to the brain.
"I felt complete pain relief for the first time in
eight years," said Ms. Ventura. "Not only can I hold
my beautiful grandson, but also I am able to take
him for walks and care for him while my daughter
works. It is a priceless gift."
Photo courtesy of Medtronic
Once the patient is satisfied with the level of
stimulation during a short trial phase, the
pocket watch-size neurostimulator is
implanted in the abdomen just under the
skin during a second ambulatory surgery.
Its battery can be recharged by periodically
placing a charging device that is
about the size of a pager over the area of
Ms. Ventura added, "My stay at Winthrop
was wonderful, efficient and thorough - the doctors
and nurses anticipated my every need. I think of
Dr. Brisman every single day with gratitude."
For more information, please call 1-866-WINTHROP.