Celebrating 30 Years of Pain Management Service

The Mount Sinai Hospital has represented a center of excellence and innovation in numerous fields of medicine since founded in 1855. The Hospital has since continued to grow, moving from its original downtown location, to its now home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Soon after its inception, The Hospital opened a Nursing school in the late 1880’s which in 1968, developed into the now, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, leader in the medical and scientific training of young men and women. Throughout this time, departments expanded their interdisciplinary roles with each other, including the Anesthesiology department.  

As part of the Anesthesiology department, Morris Bien, MD began focusing his efforts on treating pain, specifically in the operating room environment and post-surgery, concentrating on regional nerve blockade for both acute and chronic conditions. Concurrently, cancer research and treatment began to take flight nationally, and an auxiliary nerve block on the sympathetic nervous system began to be used for treating pain associated with specific types of cancers. From these efforts, a formal Pain Management service emerged.

In 1984, the Pain Management service was officially established under the directorship of David Richlin, MD. With the advent of the World Health Organization’s development of the international “pain step ladder” in 1986, The Mount Sinai Hospital was at the forefront of managing both cancer-related pain, as well as perioperative pain syndromes.  The service employed the use of intravenous patient controlled analgesia (PCA), which remains the standard of care for managing acute pain today. Additionally, epidural analgesia with local anesthetics and opiate medications were utilized with increasing success on labor and delivery, and post-operatively.

Today, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pain Management at Mount Sinai as the program continues to grow exponentially alongside modern advancements and techniques. The Service now includes fluoroscopically (X-ray) and ultrasound guided techniques of drug delivery and pain relief for both acute and chronic injuries and conditions. The Department also now boasts seven physicians:

Lawrence Epstein, MD, Director of Outpatient Services and President of the NYSSA
Stelian Serban, MD, Director of Inpatient Services
Houman Danesh, MD, Director of Integrative Pain Management
Yury Khelemsky, MD, Physician
Jeffrey Ciccone, MD, Physician
Anuj Malhotra, MD, Physician
Alexandru Burducea, MD, Physician

Dr. Danesh has spearheaded and directed the Integrative Pain Medicine Program, and alongside Dr. Ciccone, performs acupuncture, as well as develops comprehensive multimodal rehabilitative programs to include physical therapy, yoga, nutrition and mindfulness.

The American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited Pain Management Fellowship currently trains five postgraduate Anesthesiology and Physiatry residents in multimodal interventional pain management for inpatients and outpatients, and is now one of the most competitive and rigorous programs in the Northeast.  The Pain Management department has also partnered with the multidisciplinary Spine Center of The Mount Sinai Hospital, working closely with our Orthopaedic, Neurosurgery, Physiatry and Internal Medicine departments to achieve comprehensive care for our patients.