Neuromodulation is the second-oldest and third-largest of Medtronic's business units. It was formed as we transferred our expertise in heart electrical stimulation to treat diseases and conditions involving the nervous system. Today, our products include neurostimulation systems and implantable drug delivery systems for chronic pain, common movement disorders, psychiatric disorders, and urologic and gastrointestinal disorders.
Key Product Categories
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy
DBS Therapy uses a surgically implanted neurostimulator, similar to a cardiac pacemaker, to deliver electrical stimulation to precisely targeted areas within the brain to block unwanted signals. The DBS System includes:
- A neurostimulator, which is typically implanted just under the skin of the upper chest
- A lead (thin set of wires) that carries the therapy signal to the electrodes, which deliver stimulation to the brain
- An extension (thin set of wires) that connects the lead to the neurostimulator.
Drug Infusion Systems
Drug infusion systems use two fully implantable components – a drug pump and an intraspinal catheter – to deliver precise amounts of medication directly into the intrathecal space (the area where fluid flows around the spinal cord).
Because drug infusion systems deliver medication directly to the spinal cord, rather than traveling throughout the body like oral medications, intrathecal drug delivery may relieve symptoms with smaller amounts of medication than when taken orally. This may present an alternative for patients who do not respond to or cannot tolerate therapeutic oral doses.
These systems are used to manage severe spasticity and chronic pain of malignant or non-malignant origin.
Gastric Stimulation Systems
A small medical device called a neurostimulator is implanted under the skin, usually in the lower abdominal region. Two insulated wires called leads are implanted in the stomach wall muscle and then connected to the neurostimulator, which sends electrical pulses through the leads to stimulate the smooth muscles of the lower stomach. This may help to control the chronic nausea and vomiting caused by gastroparesis.
Sacral Neuromodulation Systems
These devices, typically implanted in the upper buttock, send mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves, located near the tailbone. The sacral nerves control the bladder, and muscles related to urinary and bowel function.
Spinal Cord Stimulation Systems
Spinal cord stimulation (also known as neurostimulation therapy) is delivered with a small spinal cord stimulator implanted under the skin. It delivers mild electrical impulses to a patient's spine. These mild electrical impulses reach the brain faster than the pain signal can arrive. Instead of feeling pain, patients feel a tingling sensation or parasthesia.
Patients can adjust the strength and location of stimulation using a handheld programmer. For example, patients can regulate different levels of stimulation at different times of the day or for various activities – such as walking, sleeping, or sitting. Depending on the neurostimulation system, the device may feature adaptive stimulation that automatically adjusts stimulation when a patient changes position.
See our Neuromodulation Products
* The Medtronic Therapy for this disorder is available through a Humanitarian Device Exemption in the United States. The effectiveness of the therapy for this disorder has not been demonstrated.