UCLA researchers in the Department of Neurosurgery and Electrical Engineering have developed a novel closed-loop spinal cord stimulator device that is small and flexible.
Over 30 million patients in the US suffer from cervical or neck pain, and the market for neurostimulation is expected to exceed $2 billion by 2020. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) therapy consists of embedding devices in the skin above the spinal cord, masking pain signals before they reach the brain. Existing SCS systems only have up to 32 electrodes per square centimeter and utilize complex architectures, with a large battery and many wires and leads. The most common side effect with SCS use is lead migration or breakage and infection; extensive lead migration may require reoperation to position the wires correctly. Additionally, patient response to SCS systems varies greatly, requiring individualized tuning to optimize pain relief.
Professor Iyer and coworkers have developed a novel SCS device that is small, flexible, and can autonomously adjust stimulation patterns for maximum efficacy. The SCS chip can be easily manufactured using microfabrication technology with a high density of electrodes (>1000 cm-2), significantly more than existing systems (32 cm-2). Batteries can be embedded onto the device, eliminating the need for leads and wires. Additionally, on-chip machine learning enables the optimization of stimulation patterns based on individual patient and posture for efficacious pain management.
Spinal cord stimulator; internal pulse generator; flexible electronics; poly(dimethylsiloxane); spinal cord; pain management; neurostimulation