Interventional Pain Specialist, Dr. Nomen Azeem of Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, is the first physician on the Gulf Coast of Florida to use and implant a new neurostimulation device designed to relieve the sensation of pain in patients suffering from chronic intractable pain. The device, known as the St. Jude Medical Axium™ Neurostimulator System for dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation, was used to support a 33-year-old patient, resident of Sarasota, Florida suffering from chronic foot and ankle pain. She had a long extensive history dating back to a motor vehicle accident from March 2010. She sustained a right foot fracture and underwent surgery. She subsequently underwent a total of 5 arthroscopic surgeries on the ankle and foot without pain relief. She underwent extensive physical therapy, and tried various pain medications, but continued to complain of numbness, paresthesia, and burning pain in her foot and ankle.
After meeting with Dr. Azeem the patient was scheduled for a DRG SCS (Dorsal Root Ganglion Spinal Cord Stimulation) trial in which the device is used temporarily to assess effectiveness in pain relief. She had 100% complete pain relief for the first time in 7 years during the trial period and was able to walk 2.5 miles without any reported pain. She enthusiastically moved forward with the permanent implant procedure.
Dr Azeem implanted the St. Jude Medical Axium system, which was used because the patient’s chronic pain symptoms were localized to the foot and ankle and consisted of neuropathic or nerve related pain as well as a component of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or Causalgia.
Unlike traditional neurostimulation devices, the St. Jude Medical Axium system targets the dorsal root ganglion (DRG), a spinal structure densely populated with sensory nerves transmitting information to the brain via the spinal cord. This first-of-its-kind device delivers a form of spinal stimulation targeting specific areas of the body where pain occurs. As a result, DRG stimulation gives physicians the ability to effectively provide pain relief to patients with neuropathic conditions otherwise underserved by traditional SCS. Patients suffering from chronic lower limb pain associated with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) who have previously tried multiple treatment options without receiving adequate pain relief. DRG stimulation with the Axium system has been shown to be particularly effective for treating pain in areas currently underserved by traditional SCS, such as the groin, lower leg, and feet. The Axium system is approved for use in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.
“As an interventional pain physician, I witness the debilitating effects of chronic pain physically, mentally, and psychosocially which impact individuals’ quality of life. All pain physicians worry of the long term systemic effects of pain medications. Fortunately, the technological advances being made in the field of neuromodulation are astounding and have revolutionized how we think about treating neuropathic pain,” said Dr. Nomen Azeem, interventional pain management and sports medicine specialist and Sarasota Orthopedic Associates Director of Neuromodulation, who performed the implant procedure. “We can now offer a device that, with advanced technology, allows the ability to block pain in very localized areas such as inguinal pain after hernia surgery, or hip, knee, foot and ankle pain after injury or surgery to the area. In the appropriate patient, we may be able to decrease the amount of pain medication necessary to control pain symptoms and even allow others to discontinue pain medications altogether.”
According to the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans, an incidence rate which outpaces heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. Research suggests that, in total, the condition costs the American population an estimated 515 million workdays annually and generates upwards of 40 million visits to physicians each year.
“At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we are dedicated to finding solutions for successful patient outcomes and improving quality of life,” said Doug Badertscher, CEO. “That means that we are committed to providing innovative medical technology such as the St. Jude DRG SCS system in order to help our patients”.
Long term data from the ACCURATE clinical trial have shown significantly more patients receiving DRG stimulation achieved meaningful pain relief and greater treatment success when compared to patients receiving traditional SCS (74.2 percent vs. 53 percent). Study findings also demonstrated patients receiving DRG stimulation reported no differences in paresthesia (tingling) intensity due to changes in body position (known as postural effects) when compared to traditional SCS. After 12-months, nearly all patients receiving DRG stimulation reported better stimulation targeting in their area of pain without extraneous paresthesia than patients receiving traditional SCS (94.5 percent vs. 61.2 percent).
Sarasota Orthopedic Associates has four convenient locations in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, and Bradenton. We treat patients of all ages and offer same day appointments when needed. Our twelve physicians specialize in conditions of the bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles. Appointments are made by calling 941-951-2663 or, logging onto our website at www.SOA.md and using the home page link that directly connects to our schedulers. Our commitment is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.
For more information about this subject, Dr Azeem, or Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, please contact Sandi Wall, Director of Marketing at Swall@SOA.md