Spinal Cord Stimulation Makers Announcing New Technologies for Pain Sufferers

Spinal Cord Stimulation Makers Announcing New Technologies for Pain Sufferers

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.

Senza-SCSThe 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.

Axium_SCSThe 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).

Precision-Novi_SCSThe 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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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Paul Fowler at 4:37 am

    I had 4 put in they each lasted about 3 years they worked great,, than the 4rth one was wireless but got infected about 3 weeks after it was put in the infection spread up my spine Docter kept me in the hosp about a week until the infection finallt stopped it almost killed me but now I can’t get another I wish I had sued I still think you owe me about 100000 dollars for all the mistakes, I live in nj when the infection started was about 5 at night I tried to call doc, but got answering machine saying if emergency call 911 than I went to hosp, that gave me pills said come back in 4 days I did they didn’t know what I was talking about called the docter went right to him than he sent me to another hosp right away and took it out, so many mistakes but I trusted them now I have to take pain meds cant get another afraid I might get another infection,, you owe me, big time

  2. Kerry at 9:04 am

    I had one in for about 3 years and the system went bad. Initially though it worked great and gave me pain relief. But over time it stopped working, got hot through the skin, and would not charge. It was supposed to last 7-10 years according to the company but it did not last but for 3. Doctors have tried to get me to put another one in given all of the complications of my spine but I have refused. I am getting great pain relief by meditating now and using Dr. Beth Darnall’s book, less pain/ fewer pills. I am not opposed to SCS and I believe that the technology continues to improve. The good thing about them is that they can be removed if it creates issues. On the other hand, if you have a spinal fusion, you are stuck with what happens to you if it goes bad. The trials are not bad at all and if the trial works usually that means that the SCS will work. Just know there are unknowns in the technology and as well in the bodies of a pain patients and both change over time.