A new Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) neurostimulation system that uses motion-sensor technology to automatically adjust stimulation levels in patients with chronic leg and back pain has won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.
The AdaptiveStim RestoreSensor system comprises an implanted device that interrupts pain signals from reaching the brain, causing the user to feel a tingling sensation instead of pain.
Using motion-detecting technology similar to that used in smartphones and computer gaming systems, the device automatically adjusts the intensity of stimulation based on the patient’s body position. With a standard neurostimulation device, patients would use a remote-control device to adjust their settings when they change positions.
A study of 79 patients with chronic pain found that 80 percent of participants reported functional improvements from the device, including improved comfort during position changes.
This is the newest addition to Medtronic’s neurostimulation portfolio, which includes three rechargeable neurostimulators and a nonrechargable one. It’s been a growing segment of Medtronic’s business, accounting for about 10 percent of the company’s 2011 revenue and growing 7 percent last quarter.
In its first-quarter earnings statement, Medtronic said its AdaptiveStim technology was already performing well in Europe, where it was approved last year. In 2010, the company estimated the market size for the device at $1 billion.
Medtronic’s stock dipped 1.2 percent at close today.