St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ), a global medical device company, today announced the approval of its Protégé™ IPG from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Protégé is the first and only neurostimulation system that allows spinal cord stimulation (SCS) technology upgrades as they are approved to be made via software updates. Chronic pain sufferers implanted with this new device can access innovative therapies, stimulation modes, diagnostics or other features once approved through future software upgrades — without the need to surgically replace their medical device.
The Protege (TM) upgradeable neurostimulator from St. Jude Medical, Inc. (Photo: St. Jude Medical)Chronic pain affects 100 million Americans, more than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. The debilitating disease is cause for 40 percent of work absences due to back pain, second only to the common cold (50 percent), and costs the nation more than $635 billion each year in medical treatment and lost productivity. SCS is a proven therapy that has been used to help manage chronic pain and improve patients’ quality of life. “In the first 40 years of SCS we’ve seen advances in hardware but limited progress in software and programming. This new device evolves with promising therapies,” said Dr. Timothy Deer, an interventional pain physician, president and CEO of the Center for Pain Relief in Charleston, W. Va., and president-elect of the International Neuromodulation Society, who was the first physician to implant a Protégé system. “With its upgradeability, SCS patients can readily access newly approved stimulation methods, allowing the latest technology to be synced with their medical device. This will reduce additional surgeries and lower the cost of care.” Until now, one of the greatest challenges with neurostimulation has been giving patients access to the latest technologies without surgically replacing their medical device. Protégé changes the standard for SCS, allowing patients to access future innovations and therapies once approved without the cost and risks associated with surgical replacement.