We’ve been spending some time on the National Pain Report recently reporting on spinal cord stimulation. In particular, we are following a patient, Phil Meade a 70-year old Utah man suffering from sciatica and other back issues as he decides whether to have an SCS implanted. Here is our introductory story and here’s something from this week as he nears a decision to have the implant.
By the way, we are always interested in how your experience was with SCS or if you are considering it, what kinds of questions you have.
As far as the technology itself is concerned, it has been a dynamic couple of weeks, as companies have been making announcements about new products and applications in the field, which continues to expand.
Three different manufacturers have made announcements about new technology that treats pain differently than traditional spinal cord stimulation systems. The SCS market is $1.3 billion and competition is heating up.
Most importantly, the hope is with competition comes better pain therapy.
The first is a new-comer to the field – Nevro Corp (NYSE: NEVRO) – that recently received approval for its Senza system. The device delivers a different kind of electrical stimulation to mask the pain signals before they reach the brain and are perceived as pain. Their proprietary technology delivers “HF10” therapy, “an advanced SCS therapy that provides electrical pulses to the spinal cord at a rate up to 10,000 per second (10 kHz), as compared to traditional SCS, which utilizes low frequency stimulation, typically between 40 Hz and 60 Hz,” the company’s website explains.
The second is St. Jude Medical (NYSE: STJ), which announced last week that its Axium technology delivers “superior pain relief over traditional spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for the treatment of chronic pain of the lower limbs,” its press release stated. This new system delivers stimulation to the Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) for more selective targeting of pain signals.
St. Jude also announced this month that it has released the first invisible trial system that runs off Apple and Bluetooth technology. (A “trial” system is a device that lets pain sufferers “try” the system to make sure it helps treat pain before undergoing surgery for the device).
The third is Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX), which announced a European launch of its new technology called the Novi Spinal Cord Stimulation system. The company said the “16-contact primary cell device has CE Mark for the treatment of chronic pain, and is the smallest high-capacity primary cell device currently available.”
With new advancements in spinal cord stimulation, people in pain are seeing many improved treatment options.
One final thought: while some doctors may “offer” more than one device, most have a preference. The companies work hard to curry favor with the implanting physicians. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions about other devices you read about with your physician.
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