Noel Goldthwaite, MD, senior surgeon and founding member at SpineCare Medical Group, Inc., is the first physician in northern California to implant Nuvectra’s Algovita® Spinal Cord Stimulation System, which successfully treated a local injured veteran’s chronic pain and led to his significant reduction in opioid use. The Nuvectra Algovita SCS System is a powerful and versatile spinal cord stimulation system that includes the smallest patient controller on the market. Algovita is FDA approved as a treatment for chronic, intractable pain.
“Following injuries sustained in the line of duty, this particular patient had multiple surgeries that led to unmanaged and intense chronic back pain prior to the placement of Algovita,” Dr. Goldthwaite explains. “The smaller volume paddle lead and ability to steer it using a stylet eased the navigation of significant scar tissue during the procedure. These features allowed me to place the paddle and stimulation exactly where the patient needed it, which helped to alleviate his pain right from the start. Furthermore, after the procedure, the Algovita system differs from other SCS systems in its easy to use keychain patient controller that allows the patient, in conjunction with our medical staff, to customize the amplitude, frequency, and pulse width of the stimulation and toggle between therapy settings. The results have been outstanding! When he initially came to see me, he was severely depressed and in a wheelchair due to his pain. Now he walks into my office upright with a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye – he’s a totally different person.”
Chronic pain affects over 100 million Americans according to the Institute of Medicine, more than diabetes, cancer, and heart disease combined. Chronic pain is difficult to treat, but one potential treatment option is spinal cord stimulation, or SCS. SCS works by masking or interrupting pain signals as they travel up the spinal cord to the brain. A small, rechargeable battery is implanted under the patient’s skin and connected to thin wires, called leads, which stimulate the nerves sending pain signals. The stimulation “overrides” the pain signals, and instead of feeling pain, patients may feel a tingling sensation known as paresthesia.
Dr. Goldthwaite also discussed the opioid dependency epidemic occurring among our veterans, stating that, “SCS is a powerful non-drug tool that can be used to control pain relief for these patients. Non-drug pain control helps them function, focus, and sleep better and more effectively deal with other related conditions, including PTSD.”
Algovita gave near immediate pain relief to this patient, enabling him to reduce his opioid usage by over 90% in the 6 months since his surgery, which he had become dependent on to keep the pain at bay. Now, he leads what he calls a life of conscious living, being able to enjoy time with his family and help other veterans who have returned from active duty.
The Algovita SCS System was designed to help physicians improve their outcomes and better manage their patients’ pain today and into the future. Algovita offers a number of unique features not available with other systems on the market. With the broadest range of capabilities and fine-tuned control, Algovita provides physicians with the tools to address the individual and changing nature of pain. In addition, Algovita’s leads cover the longest span of the spinal nerves, allowing for additional coverage options as pain moves and changes. As the only stretchable leads on the market, Algovita’s leads are designed to bend and stretch with body movement to help sustain the therapy long-term. Since pain can change throughout the day and with different activities, Algovita also features a small, wireless, key-fob patient controller so stimulation can be easily and discreetly managed.
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