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Neuromodulation Device Helps Treat Overactive Bladder

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 12 Apr 2016
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Image: The NURO minimally invasive percutaneous tibial neuromodulation (PTNM) system (Photo courtesy of Medtronic).
Image: The NURO minimally invasive percutaneous tibial neuromodulation (PTNM) system (Photo courtesy of Medtronic).
A novel neuromodulation device targets bladder and brain miscommunication to help tens of millions struggling with overactive bladder (OAB).

The NURO system delivers minimally invasive percutaneous tibial neuromodulation (PTNM), a periodic, office-based procedure that can provide a measurable reduction in urinary frequency, urinary incontinence, and urge incontinence episodes, without the side effects of medication. The device works by delivering a gentle electrical pulse to the tibial nerve via an acupuncture-like needle placed in the skin near the ankle, which is attached to the neurostimulator. The electrical stimulation is thought to indirectly activate the central nervous system (CNS) to help alleviate OAB symptoms.

The therapy is administered in a physician’s office during weekly 30-minute sessions for 12 weeks, and thereafter as prescribed. Side effects are temporary, and include mild pain or skin inflammation at or near the stimulation site. In clinical trials, PTNM reduced the number of incontinence episodes and voids, the urgency and urge of incontinence episodes, and increased voiding volume. The NURO system is a product of Medtronic (Dublin, Ireland), and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“So many suffer from OAB, and the majority are either not treated or not finding relief with other treatments, so Medtronic is pleased to offer another option along the care pathway,” said Linnea Burman, vice president and general manager of gastro/urology therapies at Medtronic. “Our hope is that our expanding neuromodulation portfolio can help a broader range of patients get their lives back.”

“Many people with OAB are unsatisfied with current treatments and a significant number are not seeking treatment altogether,” said Harriette Scarpero, MD, of Associated Urologists of Nashville (TN, USA). “With the NURO System, I can offer patients another option to restore bladder function and improve quality of life without the side effects of medication. This minimally invasive therapy targets the brain-bladder miscommunication and can help improve quality of life in a meaningful way.”

OAB affects more than 37 million people in the United States alone, with a significant impact on their quality of life due to disrupted social activities, unsettled exercise, and excessive nighttime voiding that affects sleep. Despite this, only 33% of those suffering seek treatment, and as many as 70% stop using their medications within six months, due to intolerable side effects or unsatisfying results.

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