Boston Scientific’s spinal cord stimulator (SCS) systems help patients manage and treat chronic pain. The implanted devices utilize small electric pulses to disrupt pain signals, not letting them reach the brain, thus allowing users to continue leading active lives. With SCS systems, patients living with chronic pain can use a remote control to increase or decrease stimulation. SCS cannot fix the problem that causes chronic pain, but rather they change the brain’s perception of the pain.
These types of devices have long since been considered safe and effective and have been used by thousands of patients in the U.S. Boston Scientific’s WaveWriter Alpha SCS line, which is not yet available in the U.S., has just been launched in Europe. It is estimated that over 100 million Europeans’ lives are impacted by chronic pain, which is defined as localized pain that lasts more than 12 weeks.
"Chronic pain can severely impact a patient's ability to carry out daily activities," said Jan Willem Kallewaard, M.D., from the Rijnstate Hospital in Arnhem, Netherlands. "With the WaveWriter Alpha SCS Systems, not only are patients likely to achieve a successful outcome, but their quality of life is also being dramatically improved by regaining many functional abilities."
The WaveWriter Alpha system is currently the only system that uses paraesthesia and paraesthesia-free methods at the same time. Paraesthesia is the feeling, often described as “pins and needles” caused by pressure placed on a nerve. The system can be highly personalized and includes up to 32 wire leads that attach to specific points along the spinal cord. Connectivity can be programmed via Bluetooth during an office visit.
During its control trial, the WaveWriter Alpha system was compared to conventional SCS systems. Out of the trial’s participants, 88% found relief of 50% or more. Patients also experienced a vast improvement in mobility and functionality. Many patients whose chronic pain rendered them moderately to severely disabled found that they were once again able to resume normal daily activities.
The European launch of the WaveWriter Alpha comes only one week after Boston Scientific announced the entry of the enhanced ACURATE neo2 aortic valve system into European markets. With these and other new developments, Boston Scientific maintains its position as a leader in medical device technology.