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What is Neuromodulation?

Neuromodulation refers to technology which acts directly upon nerves. By delivering electrical or pharmaceutical agents neuromodulationdirectly to a target area, the nerve activity alters (or modulates).  Some patients describe Neuromodulation devices and treatments as life changing.

Often used to treat and enhance a patient’s quality of life, Neuromodulation can serve individuals who suffer severe chronic illness due to persistent pain, spasticity, movement disorders, epilepsy, ischaemia, cardiac, bowel and bladder dysfunction, spinal injury, visual, auditory and specific psychiatric disorders.

In Technical speak,

Neuromodulation serves as the physiological process by which a given neuron uses one or more chemicals to regulate diverse populations of neurons. Neuromodulators typically bind to metabotropic, G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) to initiate a second messenger signaling cascade that induces a broad, long-lasting signal.

What are the types of Neuromodulation?

Implanted Neuromodulation Devices such as spinal cord stimulation therapy represents the largest types of neuromodulation therapies.  Through cutting-edge and fast-changing refinements and research, these therapies continue to perfect their effects and applications.

In what many researchers now believe, electrical neurostimulation implants can activate natural biological responses, such as nerve transmission and relieve the body from pain-inducing factors; in other words, tricking the mind into a sensation different from the pain altogether.  Most patients describe the sensation as ‘bubbly.’

Central to the operation of electrical-stimulation implants are thin insulated leads, placed beneath the skin, that are tipped by electrical contacts. The contacts, no bigger than a grain of rice, are positioned beside the nerve or nerves that influence the condition being treated. Pulses of mild electrical current are sent down the leads to the nerves.

A battery-operated generator that is about the size of a stopwatch powers the pulses. If a patient responds well to several days of trial treatment, this sort of pulse generator will be implanted too. After the system has been implanted, a clinician will work with the patient to program the stimulation pattern, which can be adjusted over time. At home, patients use hand-held controllers to turn off or switch between programs. Recuperation from the implant procedure may take a few weeks.  (INS)

When is Neuromodulation Considered?

Some specialists may consider Neuromodulation therapy on select patients.  Through a variety of diagnostic and nonoperative assessments, or in conjunction with other care, the neurosurgeon may identity which symptoms do not adequately respond to more conservative measures.  Moreover, if prescribed drugs ineffectively treat the condition or pose issues for long-term use due to development of tolerance, addiction, adverse side-effects or toxicity.

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