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Man undergoes revolutionary back surgery to beat pain
A REVOLUTIONARY implant, which gives relief to sufferers of chronic back pain, has been used for the first time by South Essex surgeons.
The implant, called a spinal cord simulator (SCS), was implanted in two patients during surgery at Orsett Hospital led by Simon Thomson, a consultant in pain management and neuromodulation.
The implant - made up of electrodes and contact points on a thin wire - is put into the spine and is powered by a generator, placed in a patient’s buttocks.
Operated by a handheld control, a sufferer can press the device to give themselves pain relief.
Previously the spinal cord simulator could only relieve leg pain, but advances in technology mean it can now relieve aches in a person’s feet, legs, buttocks and back. The implant is now able to be used for people suffering from back problems which affect other parts of their bodies.
Former electrician 47-year-old Paul Braddick - who has suffered from severe back and leg pain for 15-years and has been unable to work since 2010 due to his condition - was the first to have the implant.
Up until he underwent surgery Paul has been largely housebound, relying on strong painkillers and has also suffered depression.
He was referred to Orsett Hospital - which is internationally renowned in the field of pain management and neuromodulation - by his local hospital Addenbrooke’s in Cambridgeshire.
Paul said: “The pain in my feet and legs was particularly agonising, I would describe it as worst tooth ache you’ve ever had multiplied by 1,000.
“I had to take such heavy doses of opiates; I didn’t know what was going on around me and was so unsteady on my feet I couldn’t walk properly.
“I still feel discomfort in my back from the surgery, but if the pain in my feet and legs before scored 10, I would now say it is three.”
Simon Thomson, who has worked for the Basildon and Thurrock university hospitals trust for 20-years, said: “Our work is all about achieving better outcomes for patients, and this new device has many advantages for people who suffer with complex patterns of pain.
“There is also great improvement in the handheld device, making it easier for patients to use to control the stimulation.”