Spinal Cord Stimulation Market Getting More Crowded

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Chronic pain patients who look to spinal cord stimulation (SCS) as a possible answer are seeing more choices, and if an industry report is right, there will be more spinal cord stimulation implants performed.

SCS involves direct stimulation of the nervous system with electrical signals and is used as a treatment for unmanageable chronic pain and/or movement disorders.

The new player in the fast-growing, $1.3 billion spinal cord stimulation business is Nevro Corp (NYSE: NEVRO) which received an “approvable” letter from the FDA for its SCS system for the treatment of chronic pain.

The device, called Senza, 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.

“We are pleased that the FDA has determined our Senza SCS system to be approvable based on the strength of the data provided in the PMA,” Michael DeMane, Nevro’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are working to satisfy the conditions of approval and anticipate initial commercial availability in the U.S. by mid-2015,” he added.

Nevro faces some big competition with new industry leader, Boston Scientific, Medtronic and St. Jude.  According to iData Research, the SCS market is far from penetrated. Less the 10% of people who would benefit from SCS therapy use it.  They also state, “SCS devices have been shown to produce overall cost savings in the treatment of chronic pain patients in the United States. SCS therapy provides an alternative to opioid medications that can carry substantial health risks.”

The industry report says the SCS market is growing thanks to favorable reimbursement by insurance companies.

The report also says that Boston Scientific has grown its share in the SCS market for back pain and failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) to become the leading competitor in those areas. Long-time industry leader Medtronic still has the largest client base in spinal cord stimulators. The major players, Boston Scientific, Medtronic and St. Jude Medical have all run public awareness campaigns for SCS, a trend most expect to continue as the sector grows and competition increases.

The National Pain Report is going to increase its coverage of SCS—given that it’s expected to be a growing therapy.

As always, we are interested in reader reactions.

Have you had a spinal cord stimulation implant?

How did it work for you?

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