- What is neuromodulation?
- Is neuromodulation new?
- How is the electricity delivered?
- Is surgery required?
- Does the battery run out?
- How are the batteries recharged?
- Is the system adjustable?
- What are the main types of neuromodulation therapy?
Neuromodulation essentially involves the use of electricity, delivered into specific parts of the brain, spine or the nerves to change their function. Through using electricity to change the functions of the body neuromodulation can be used to treat a whole spectrum of medical conditions.
Electricity has been used to treat the disorders of the brain for centuries. Modern neuromodulation began with the manufacture of miniaturised electrodes and battery pacemakers in the late 20th century. The systems available nowadays are fully implantable, which means that the system can be fully internalised under the skin of the body.
Electricity is delivered to the target tissue by means of small electrodes placed into or on top of the target. The electrode is then connected to a battery pacemaker, which allows delivery of the electricity to the target tissue via the electrode. In many patients the system is permanently on and therefore able to deliver the treatment constantly.
Yes, surgery is required to expose the target tissue so that the electrodes can be placed and also to make a small pocket below the collarbone or in the abdomen for the battery.
- A fixed life battery does not require any intervention from the side of the patient and may last up to five years in most patients.
- The rechargeable batteries last much longer and in some cases several decades.
Almost all systems now incorporate a patient controller which allows patients to check the battery life. Once near depletion, patients with a fixed life battery will need to undergo a relatively simple operation to replace the battery. Those patients with a rechargeable battery will require the patient to recharge the battery using a recharger on a daily or weekly basis depending on the use and battery type.
Yes! One of the main advantages of neuromodulation is that the amount of electricity and its pattern of delivery can be easily adjusted by the use of an external programmer.
There are now many different types of neuromodulation therapy. For a comprehensive guide to the most common types please click on the links below: