Medtronic starts U.S. testing of self-adjusting pain relief device

Medtronic has begun human testing in the U.S. of an implantable pain relief device that adjusts to body position.

The RestoreSensor neurostimulator uses a sensor that enables the device to adjust the amount of electricity being delivered to a patient based on the patient's body position, according to a statement from the Fridley-based medical device maker.

The amount of electricity required for a neurostimulator to block pain signals from reaching a patient's brain varies depending on body position. That's because adjustments to body position change the distance between the spinal cord and the neurostimulator's implanted electrodes.

Typically patients use a remote-control device to adjust their neurostimulator when they change positions. An upright position usually requires more neural stimulation than when a patient is lying down.

The RestoreSensor can make adjustments by itself, using Medtronic's AdaptiveStim technology, according to the company.

The device has already received European regulatory approval. The U.S. trials will be conducted at 10 locations, with the first implant already performed at MAPS Pain Clinic in Minneapolis.

Medtronic hopes to launch the RestoreSensor in the U.S. next year and gauges the market for the device at $1 billion.

Last quarter, revenue in Medtronic's neuromodulation business grew 11 percent to $394 million.

(Brandon Glenn wrote this report.)

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