Medtronic Launches Minimally Invasive Overactive Bladder Treatment

March 31, 2016

Medtronic Launches Minimally Invasive Overactive Bladder Treatment

By Suzanne Hodsden



Medtronic has launched NURO, a minimally invasive neuromodulation system to treat overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) in patients with urinary urgency, frequency, and urge incontinence.  Research has shown that percutaneous tibial neuromodulation (PTNM) — when performed periodically in a urologist’s office — can reduce these symptoms with fewer side effects than medication.

According to the Urology Care Foundation (UCF), there are 33 million reported cases of OAB in the U.S., but the total number of patients is likely much higher because so few discuss the issue with their doctor. The UCF reports that each case of OAB is highly individualized and not every treatment is suitable for every patient.

Many patients find OAB medications are only modestly effective, and some experience uncomfortable side effects, said authors of a study published in Current Urology. Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) — which uses a surgical implant to deliver stimulation — has been effective in correcting miscommunication between the brain and the bladder, but the procedure is costly and invasive.

In 2012, the American Urological Association’s guidelines for OAB treatments were expanded to include PTNM, a minimally invasive procedure that uses a needle electrode to deliver stimulation to nerves in the ankle, which travel to the nerve circuitry in the bladder without requiring an implant. Authors of the Current Urology study urge urologists to position the treatment “early in the algorithm of care for OAB.”

“Many people with OAB are unsatisfied with current treatments and a significant number are not seeking treatment altogether,” said Harriette Scarpero, from the Associated Neurologists of Nashville, Tenn., in a press release.  “With the NURO system, I can offer patients another option to restore bladder function and improve quality of life without the side effects of medication. This minimally invasive therapy targets the brain-bladder miscommunication and can help improve quality of life in a meaningful way.”

Patients receiving PTNM therapy would experience weekly treatments, each 30 minutes long, for 12 weeks — or as prescribed by their doctor. According to Leslie Woolridge, director of the Adult Bladder Control Center, Mercy Health Partners, in Muskegon, Mich., studies of PTNM have demonstrated improvement of OAB symptoms after two to 12 weeks of therapy.

Linnea Burman, VP of gastro/urology treatments at Medtronic, commented in a press release that the company is pleased to offer another option for OAB treatment.

“Our hope is that our expanding neuromodulation portfolio can help a broader range of patients get their lives back,” said Burman.

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak recently commented that poor product launches had hurt the company’s sales in spinal implants, and the industry could expect a renewed strategy for Medtronic product launches in 2016

The FDA recently cleared Medtronic’s deep brain stimulation therapy for Parkinson’s patients with recent onset of motor symptoms.