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Neurostimulation System Offers Personalized Pain Relief

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 20 Nov 2017
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Image: A miniaturized SCS system helps relieve chronic pain (Photo courtesy of Medtronic).
Image: A miniaturized SCS system helps relieve chronic pain (Photo courtesy of Medtronic).
A miniaturized fully implantable spinal cord stimulation (SCS) system provides a non-opioid alternative for people suffering chronic pain.

The Medtronic (Dublin, Ireland) Intellis fully implantable SCS neurostimulator is intended to simplify and improve patient experience by addressing battery recharging, a common issue that plagues neurostimulation systems. Using proprietary Overdrive technology, the Intellis battery can be fully recharged from empty in approximately one hour. Improved battery performance also allows physicians to estimate recharge intervals. An added benefit of improved power control is the ability to fine-tune SCS therapy via the Evolve workflow algorithm, which standardizes guidance and balances high-dose (HD) and low-dose (LD) therapy settings.

The system is controlled using the wireless Samsung (Seoul, Korea) Galaxy Tab S2 tablet interface, enabling faster delivery of evolving workflows and system software upgrades. The Intellis system also includes Medtronic's SureScan magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology for diagnostic imaging and simple eligibility determination, allowing MRI scans anywhere on the body of SCS patients; and AdaptiveStim technology for automatic adjustments to deliver the right therapy dose to the right location, as the pain target shifts based on body position.

“Medtronic's goal is to simplify treatment and improve the patient experience with personalized therapy that provides long-term pain relief and helps restore function,” said Marshall Stanton, MD, Medtronic senior vice president and president of the Pain Therapies division. “The launch of the Intellis platform is the culmination of 40 years of innovation, and what makes Intellis such an important option is that it integrates leading-edge hardware with the Evolve workflow for SCS to help optimize pain relief.”

“Rather than rely on patient-reported data, the enhanced activity tracker of the Intellis platform provides real-time data that offers more visibility into quality of life changes,” said Professor Jean-Pierre Van Buyten, MD, of AZ Nikolaas Hospital (Sint-Niklaas, Belgium). “Better understanding a patient's experience can lead to a more informed conversation that can help me maximize their pain relief, and this information is easy to see and act on with the improved Samsung Galaxy tablet physician programmer.”

SCS generates electrical pulses that mask or interrupt pain signals as they travel to the brain, reducing pain sensation. Traditionally, SCS uses equally spaced electrical pulses to replace pain with a tingling sensation similar to paresthesia. SCS is used mostly in the treatment of failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, and refractory pain due to ischemia.


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