Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors

A Proclaim spinal cord stimulator helped Robert Busse reclaim his time and move beyond grinding, chronic pain. 

Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors

Pain and Movement|Jan.24, 2023

Robert J. Busse can't remember a time in his life when he didn’t have back pain.

But the 69-year-old retired attorney does remember the moment he found out he could do something about it.

It was 2016, when a Proclaim XR spinal cord stimulator was implanted in Busse's back. Just after the procedure, his doctor came to talk with him about his new device and "cranked up" the stimulator for a demonstration.

"I remember I even shed a tear because I felt a sensation in my left big toe that I had not felt in years," Busse recalled. "I said, 'Whatever you did, you hung that thing off my spinal cord in the right spot.' "

All of a sudden, Busse had found the "off" button for an alarm that had been sounding in his brain for 40-plus years.

Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors

A Successful Hunt for Relief

Now he is an outdoorsman, not a pain sufferer. Instead of hoping for pain to subside, he hops on his ATV for a ride around his sanctuary, a 200-acre piece of land he bought “out in the middle of nowhere” northeast of his home in Charleston, W.V.

"I can't walk as far as I like, but I try not to let my back stop me from the things I want to do," he said, "and the stimulator helps a lot with that."

What he wants to do is enjoy the outdoors, whether that's hunting deer with his son or going fishing for smallmouth bass. His hunt for chronic pain relief ended with Proclaim.

The spinal cord stimulator literally taps into Busse's nervous system. To explain it in the simplest terms — time is precious, after all — Proclaim sends electrical signals to the spinal cord and brain telling it to tune out the pain it would ordinarily register. And that delivers Busse relief.

Whenever the alarm sounds, he can grab his smartphone and simply adjust the pain-blocking stimulation. 

Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors

Pain, Surgery, Pain, Repeat

Turn back the clock, and circumstances were drastically different for Busse. His history includes five — yes, five — back surgeries between 1978 and 2011.

Pain followed him from his high school days, when he was shoveling blacktop for a summer job. Just trying to lift a heavy rock put him on the road to his first laminectomy, a procedure that shaves a small piece of bone off the spine to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve bundles nearby. A second laminectomy came as he was supposed to be graduating from law school. His parents had to visit him in the hospital instead.

He required a third surgery in 1996, and by 2002 it was time for a spinal fusion. Busse went to see a neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh, a doctor who also operated on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Indeed, Busse's spine got the NFL treatment: “My own little goalposts — two titanium rods and a crossbar."

Surgery No. 5 was for spinal stenosis. The two vertebrae above his fusion had basically worn out.

Throughout it all, Busse had no choice but to take opioids and other heavy medications to try to counteract the pain he felt. Grinding pain. Debilitating pain.

Every time his physical health was in question, he got an answer. But it became clear that every answer, even a complex surgery, was temporary.

He needed another option, one that could be customized over time to fit his needs.

Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors

'I Feel Pretty Dang Lucky'

"I went from being a user of opioids to a user of electricity," Busse said with a laugh, noting that the opioid use was always as prescribed. Spinal cord stimulation therapy with devices such as Proclaim can help many patients reduce the amount of analgesic medication they take, but everyone's experience is different.

Busse was turned on to electricity (and, by extension, Proclaim) in late 2015 and early 2016 by his new doctor at the time, Timothy Deer, president and chief executive officer of the Spine and Nerve Centers of the Virginias in Charleston.

Busse is hopeful that his own successful experience with Proclaim will lead others to consider similar treatments. "I wish I had done it when I was younger," he said. "But better late than never." Since time travel isn't an option just yet, he's content with the innovation that has let his mind and body wander away from the trauma of chronic pain.

Spinal cord stimulation has given Busse's time, and his life, back to him.

"The pain can get overwhelming sometimes, but the nice thing about the stimulator is it gives me the option to say, 'What can I do about this?' instead of lying in a ball and moaning and groaning," he said. "I feel pretty dang lucky."

Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors Back Pain Takes a Back Seat to the Great Outdoors

This story reflects one person's experience; not everyone will experience the same results. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of your treatment option.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

SPINAL CORD STIMULATION (SCS)

PRESCRIPTION AND SAFETY INFORMATION

Read this section to gather important prescription and safety information. 

INTENDED USE

This neurostimulation system is designed to deliver low-intensity electrical impulses to nerve structures. The system is intended to be used with leads and associated extensions that are compatible with the system.

INDICATIONS FOR USE

This neurostimulation system is indicated as an aid in the management of chronic, intractable pain of the trunk and/or limbs, including unilateral or bilateral pain associated with the following: failed back surgery syndrome and intractable low back and leg pain. 

CONTRAINDICATIONS

This system is contraindicated for patients who are unable to operate the system or who have failed to receive effective pain relief during trial stimulation.

MRI SAFETY INFORMATION

Some models of this system are Magnetic Resonance (MR) Conditional, and patients with these devices may be scanned safely with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) when the conditions for safe scanning are met. For more information about MR Conditional neurostimulation components and systems, including equipment settings, scanning procedures, and a complete listing of conditionally approved components, refer to the MRI procedures clinician's manual for neurostimulation systems (available online at medical.abbott/manuals). For more information about MR Conditional products, visit the Abbott Medical product information page at neuromodulation.abbott/MRI-ready

WARNINGS

The following warnings apply to this neurostimulation system.

Poor surgical risks.  Neurostimulation should not be used on patients who are poor surgical risks or patients with multiple illnesses or active general infections.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Some patients may be implanted with the components that make up a Magnetic Resonance (MR) Conditional system, which allows them to receive an MRI scan if all the requirements for the implanted components and for scanning are met. A physician can help determine if a patient is eligible to receive an MRI scan by following the requirements provided by Abbott Medical. Physicians should also discuss any risks of MRI with patients. 

Patients without an MR Conditional neurostimulation system should not be subjected to MRI because the electromagnetic field generated by an MRI may damage the device electronics and induce voltage through the lead that could jolt or shock the patient. 

Diathermy therapy. Do not use short-wave diathermy, microwave diathermy, or therapeutic ultrasound diathermy (all now referred to as diathermy) on patients implanted with a neurostimulation system. Energy from diathermy can be transferred through the implanted system and cause tissue damage at the location of the implanted electrodes, resulting in severe injury or death.

Diathermy is further prohibited because it may also damage the neurostimulation system components. This damage could result in loss of therapy, requiring additional surgery for system implantation and replacement. Injury or damage can occur during diathermy treatment whether the neurostimulation system is turned on or off. 

Electrosurgery. To avoid harming the patient or damaging the neurostimulation system, do not use monopolar electrosurgery devices on patients with implanted neurostimulation systems. Before using an electrosurgery device, place the device in Surgery Mode using the patient controller app or clinician programmer app. Confirm the neurostimulation system is functioning correctly after the procedure. 

During implant procedures, if electrosurgery devices must be used, take the following actions:

·   Use bipolar electrosurgery only.

·   Complete any electrosurgery procedures before connecting the leads or extensions to the neurostimulator.

·   Keep the current paths from the electrosurgery device as far from the neurostimulation system as possible.

·   Set the electrosurgery device to the lowest possible energy setting.

·   Confirm that the neurostimulation system is functioning correctly during the implant procedure and before closing the neurostimulator pocket.

Implanted cardiac systems. Physicians need to be aware of the risk and possible interaction between a neurostimulation system and an implanted cardiac system, such as a pacemaker or defibrillator. Electrical pulses from a neurostimulation system may interact with the sensing operation of an implanted cardiac system, causing the cardiac system to respond inappropriately. To minimize or prevent the implanted cardiac system from sensing the output of the neurostimulation system, (1) maximize the distance between the implanted systems; (2) verify that the neurostimulation system is not interfering with the functions of the implanted cardiac system; and (3) avoid programming either device in a unipolar mode (using the device’s can as an anode) or using neurostimulation system settings that interfere with the function of the implantable cardiac system.

Other active implanted devices. The neurostimulation system may interfere with the normal operation of another active implanted device, such as a pacemaker, defibrillator, or another type of neurostimulator. Conversely, the other active implanted device may interfere with the operation of the neurostimulation system.

Interference with other devices. Some of this system’s electronic equipment, such as the programmer and controller, can radiate radiofrequency (RF) energy that may interfere with other electronic devices, including other active implanted devices. Avoid placing equipment components directly over other electronic devices. To correct the effect of interference with other devices, turn off the equipment or increase the distance between the equipment and the device being affected.

Operation of machines, equipment, and vehicles. Patients using therapy that generates paresthesia should turn off stimulation before operating motorized vehicles, such as automobiles, or potentially dangerous machinery and equipment because sudden stimulation changes may distract them from properly operating it. However, current data shows that most patients using BurstDR™ stimulation therapy do not experience paresthesia. For patients who do not feel paresthesia, sudden stimulation changes are less likely to occur and distract them while operating motorized vehicles, machinery, or equipment.

Explosive and flammable gases. Do not use a clinician programmer or patient controller in an environment where explosive or flammable gas fumes or vapors are present. The operation of these devices could cause them to ignite, causing severe burns, injury, or death.

Keep the device dry. Programmer and controller devices are not waterproof. Keep them dry to avoid damage. Advise patients to not use their device when engaging in activities that might cause it to get wet, such as swimming or bathing.

Pediatric use. Safety and effectiveness of neurostimulation for pediatric use have not been established.

Pregnancy and nursing. Safety and effectiveness of neurostimulation for use during pregnancy and nursing have not been established.

Device components. The use of components not approved for use by Abbott Medical with this system may result in damage to the system and increased risk to the patient.

Device modification. Equipment is not serviceable by the customer. To prevent injury or damage to the system, do not modify the equipment. If needed, return the equipment to Abbott Medical for service

Application modification. To prevent unintended stimulation, do not modify the operating system in any way. Do not use the application if the operating system is compromised (i.e., jailbroken).

Case damage. Do not handle the IPG if the case is pierced or ruptured because severe burns could result from exposure to battery chemicals.

IPG disposal. Return all explanted IPGs to Abbott Medical for safe disposal. IPGs contain batteries as well as other potentially hazardous materials. Do not crush, puncture, or burn the IPG because explosion or fire may result.

Product materials. Neurostimulation systems have materials that come in contact or may come in contact with tissue. A physician should determine whether or not a patient may have an allergic reaction to these materials before the system is implanted.

PRECAUTIONS

The following precautions apply to this neurostimulation system.

General Precautions

·   Clinician training. Implanting physicians should be experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain syndromes and have undergone surgical and device implantation training.

·   Patient selection. It is extremely important to select patients appropriately for neurostimulation. Thorough psychiatric screening should be performed. Patients should not be dependent on drugs and should be able to operate the neurostimulation system.

·   Infection. Follow proper infection control procedures. Infections related to system implantation might require that the device be explanted.

·   Implantation of two systems. If two systems are implanted, ensure that at least 20 cm (8 in) separates the implanted IPGs to minimize unintended interaction with other system components.

·   Implantation of multiple leads. If multiple leads are implanted, leads and extensions should be routed in close proximity. Nonadjacent leads can possibly create a conduit for stray electromagnetic energy that could cause the patient unwanted stimulation.

·   High stimulation outputs. Stimulation at high outputs may cause unpleasant sensations or motor disturbances, or render the patient incapable of controlling the stimulator. If unpleasant sensations occur, the device should be turned off immediately.

·   Electromagnetic interference (EMI). Some equipment in home, work, medical, and public environments can generate EMI that is strong enough to interfere with the operation of a neurostimulation system or damage system components. Patients should avoid getting too close to these types of EMI sources, which include the following examples: commercial electrical equipment (such as arc welders and induction furnaces), communication equipment (such as microwave transmitters and high-power amateur transmitters), high-voltage power lines, radiofrequency identification (RFID) devices, and some medical procedures (such as therapeutic radiation and electromagnetic lithotripsy).

·   Lead movement. Patients should be instructed to avoid bending, twisting, stretching, and lifting objects over 2 kg (5 lb) six to eight weeks after implantation of a neurostimulation system. Extension of the upper torso or neck may cause lead movement and alter the stimulation field (especially with leads in the cervical area), resulting in overstimulation or ineffective stimulation.

·   Patient training. Instruct patients to use their neurostimulation system only after an authorized clinician has programmed the device and has trained the patient how to control stimulation and safely use the system.

·   Programmer use. Allow only authorized use of the clinician programmer to avoid any programming changes that may injure a patient.

Sterilization and Storage

·   Single-use, sterile device. The implanted components of this neurostimulation system are intended for a single use only. Sterile components in this kit have been sterilized using ethylene oxide (EtO) gas before shipment and are supplied in sterile packaging to permit direct introduction into the sterile field. Do not resterilize or reimplant an explanted system for any reason.

·   Storage environment. Store components and their packaging where they will not come in contact with liquids of any kind.

Handling and Implementation

·   Expiration date. An expiration date (or “use-before” date) is printed on the packaging. Do not use the system if the use-before date has expired.

·   Handle the device with care. The clinician programmer and patient controller are sensitive electronic devices that can be damaged by rough handling, such as dropping them on the ground.

·   Care and handling of components. Use extreme care when handling system components prior to implantation. Excessive heat, excessive traction, excessive bending, excessive twisting, or the use of sharp instruments may damage and cause failure of the components.

·   Package or component damage. Do not implant a device if the sterile package or components show signs of damage, if the sterile seal is ruptured, or if contamination is suspected for any reason. Return any suspect components to Abbott Medical for evaluation.

·   Exposure to body fluids or saline. Prior to connection, exposure of the metal contacts, such as those on the connection end of a lead or extension, to body fluids or saline can lead to corrosion. If such exposure occurs, clean the affected parts with sterile, deionized water or sterile water for irrigation, and dry them completely prior to lead connection and implantation.

·   System testing. To ensure correct operation, always test the system during the implant procedure, before closing the neurostimulator pocket, and before the patient leaves the surgery suite.

Hospitals and Medical Environments

·   High-output ultrasonics and lithotripsy. The use of high-output devices, such as an electrohydraulic lithotriptor, may cause damage to the electronic circuitry of an implanted IPG. If lithotripsy must be used, do not focus the energy near the IPG.

·   Ultrasonic scanning equipment. The use of ultrasonic scanning equipment may cause mechanical damage to an implanted neurostimulation system if used directly over the implanted system.

·   External defibrillators. The safety of discharge of an external defibrillator on patients with implanted neurostimulation systems has not been established.

·   Therapeutic radiation. Therapeutic radiation may damage the electronic circuitry of an implanted neurostimulation system, although no testing has been done and no definite information on radiation effects is available. Sources of therapeutic radiation include therapeutic X rays, cobalt machines, and linear accelerators. If radiation therapy is required, the area over the implanted IPG should be shielded with lead. Damage to the system may not be immediately detectable.

Home and Occupational Environments

·   Security, antitheft, and radiofrequency identification (RFID) devices. Some antitheft devices, such as those used at entrances or exits of department stores, libraries, and other public places, and airport security screening devices may affect stimulation. Additionally, RFID devices, which are often used to read identification badges, as well as some tag deactivation devices, such as those used at payment counters at stores and loan desks at libraries, may also affect stimulation. Patients who are implanted with nonadjacent multiple leads and patients who are sensitive to low stimulation thresholds may experience a momentary increase in their perceived stimulation, which some patients have described as uncomfortable or jolting. Patients should cautiously approach such devices and should request help to bypass them. If they must go through a gate or doorway containing this type of device, patients should turn off their IPG and proceed with caution, being sure to move through the device quickly.

·   Wireless use restrictions. In some environments, the use of wireless functions (e.g., Bluetooth® wireless technology) may be restricted. Such restrictions may apply aboard airplanes, in hospitals, near explosives, or in hazardous locations. If you are unsure of the policy that applies to the use of this device, please ask for authorization to use it before turning it on. (Bluetooth® is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc.)

·   Mobile phones. While interference with mobile phones is not anticipated, technology continues to change and interaction between a neurostimulation system and a mobile phone is possible. Advise patients to contact their physician if they are concerned about their mobile phone interacting with their neurostimulation system. 

ADVERSE EFFECTS

In addition to those risks commonly associated with surgery, the following risks are associated with implanting or using this IPG: 

·   Unpleasant sensations or motor disturbances, including involuntary movement, caused by stimulation at high outputs (If either occurs, turn off your IPG immediately.)

·   Undesirable changes in stimulation, which may be related to cellular changes in tissue around the electrodes, changes in electrode position, loose electrical connections, or lead failure

·   Stimulation in unwanted places (such as radicular stimulation of the chest wall) 

·   Lead migration, causing changes in stimulation or reduced pain relief 

·   Epidural hemorrhage, hematoma, infection, spinal cord compression, or paralysis from placement of a lead in the epidural space 

·   Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage 

·   Paralysis, weakness, clumsiness, numbness, or pain below the level of the implant 

·   Persistent pain at the electrode or IPG site 

·   Seroma (mass or swelling) at the IPG site

·   Allergic or rejection response to implant materials 

·   Implant migration or skin erosion around the implant 

·   Battery failure

 21 CR 801.109(b)  The label of the device, other than surgical instruments, bears: 

(1) The symbol statement “Rx only” or “℞ only” or the statement “Caution: Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a ___”, the blank to be filled with the word “physician”, “dentist”, “veterinarian”, or with the descriptive designation of any other practitioner licensed by the law of the State in which the practitioner practices to use or order the use of the device; and 

(2) The method of its application or use.

 72783 MAT-2215216 v1.0 | Item approved for U.S. use only.

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