StimRouter®: A Revolutionary Approach to Targeted Pain Relief

Updated 3/7/2024
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Stemrouter for chronic pain

When pain lasts for more than 90 days, it is considered chronic. Chronic pain, especially chronic nerve pain of the foot and ankle, can understandably have a significant impact on your quality of life.

 

Various conditions — such as tendonitis, cartilage damage, ankle impingement, or improper healing after trauma — can lead to ongoing symptoms. If conservative treatment options like anti-inflammatory medications, orthotics, or physical therapy haven’t helped your chronic pain, our doctors may be able to offer a new pain relief solution.

Introducing the StimRouter® for chronic pain

University Foot & Ankle Institute is excited to offer our patients an innovative solution for targeted pain relief: the StimRouter by Bioventus.

 

Created by Bioness, Inc., the StimRouter is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of peripheral mononeuropathy that has not responded to more conservative treatment methods.

 

For patients tired of relying on pain medicine to manage their chronic pain, the StimRouter has been a game-changer. This innovative medical device’s targeted approach to pain relief provides an excellent option for those struggling with chronic foot pain or ankle pain. The best news is that the StimRouter peripheral nerve stimulator (PNS) targets the source of your pain without drugs or invasive surgery.

 

What is the StimRouter? 

The StimRouter is a minimally invasive neuromodulation medical device that specifically targets peripheral nerves responsible for pain. In simpler terms, it’s an implant that serves as a pulse transmitter, sending out gentle electrical pulses near the peripheral nerve pain source to disrupt pain signals as they’re sent to the spinal cord and brain.

 

The goal of the StimRouter implant is to provide relief for chronic pain sufferers in a personalized way, allowing them to regain control over their lives. Studies have shown the StimRouter system to be effective in the treatment of multiple peripheral mononeuropathies (nerve damage outside of the spinal cord and brain). As well as effective at improving patient pain, activity levels, and quality of life.

 

The StimRouter neuromodulation system is a subcutaneous implant, meaning that it resides under the skin. But unlike other implants, there is no implanted pulse generator, only an implanted electrical lead. Generally, the incision is smaller than other nerve implants and the is safe for many MRI tests. 

 

Multiple published clinical trials have shown the StimRouter system to have a high margin of safety, differentiating it from other peripheral neuromodulation systems. Ultimately, the StimRouter PNS system represents a viable option for the management of chronic pain in patients who have not responded to first-line treatments.

 

How does the StimRouter work? 

The StimRouter empowers patients by giving them complete control of their pain management treatment.

 

During the procedure, an electrical lead is implanted beneath the skin, near the troublesome nerve. The patient is also outfitted with an External Electric Field Conductor (E-EFC) that allows communication between the internal lead and external electrical signals. Through the user patch, the patient can create programs and adjust pulses within their body.

 

Patients can customize the implant, which generates the electrical pulses, using the patient programmer. This small, wireless device easily allows patients to increase or decrease stimulation intensity and turn the device on or off.

 

What can you expect during the StimRouter procedure? 

The brilliance of the StimRouter lies in its elegant design and advanced technology. Here's a step-by-step explanation:

 

  • Implantation: The StimRouter implant procedure is a percutaneous procedure in which the pulse transmitter lead is implanted under the skin near the targeted peripheral nerve. The percutaneous method is less invasive than open surgery, resulting in a shorter recovery time. Most patients only need local anesthesia to be comfortable during the implantation.
  • Stimulation: Once implanted, the device's electrode can begin sending gentle electrical pulses to the targeted nerve based on the patient's input. These pulses help in controlling the pain signals sent to the brain.
  • Patient control: The patient has immediate and long-term control over the stimulation using an external pulse transmitter (EPT). The remote control-like device can be adjusted to meet each patient’s unique pain relief needs.

 

What are the benefits of the StimRouter?

University Foot & Ankle Institute is proud to be able to offer this revolutionary pain relief system because of the many benefits it offers our patients.

 

  • Personalized treatment. The Bioness StimRouter provides an individualized approach to chronic pain management. Targeting the specific nerve responsible for the pain offers tailored relief that traditional treatments may not provide.
  • Minimally invasive. Unlike some other methods, the implantation of the StimRouter is a simple outpatient procedure. This means fewer risks, no invasive surgery, and a quicker recovery time.
  • Enhanced quality of life. Chronic pain can be debilitating. The StimRouter empowers patients to take control of their pain management, leading to a better quality of life.

 

What do patients say about the StimRouter?

StimRouter peripheral nerve pain treatment is effective and safe. Here are key findings from a survey of 133 StimRouter patients, representing experience with 17 different peripheral nerves:

 

  • 88% of patients continue to actively use StimRouter to treat their chronic pain after one year.
  • 76% said that they are satisfied with their device.
  • A majority of patients reported at least a 50% increase in activity level after beginning their StimRouter treatment.

 

Remember, every patient's situation is unique, so it's essential to consult with our healthcare providers to determine if the StimRouter is right for you. Together, we can explore the best options for managing your pain and improving your quality of life.

 

Who is a candidate for StimRouter?

Individuals with an implanted cardiac pacemaker, cardioverter defibrillator, or other active implanted device(such as a spinal implant stimulator) are generally not candidates for the procedure. 

 

StimRouter may be right for you if you are:

 

  • Unable to find relief with initial treatment options.
  • Looking for a more long-term pain management option.
  • Wanting to eliminate or reduce the use of medications.
  • Not a candidate for major surgery or looking to avoid invasive surgery.

 

 

Why choose UFAI for the treatment of chronic foot and ankle pain 

UFAI is nationally recognized for advanced pain management techniques, including the StimRouter chronic pain treatment system. Our clinicians have decades of combined experience with painful feet and ankles. 

 

For a consultation, please call (877) 736-6001 or make an appointment online now.

 

University Foot and Ankle Institute is conveniently located throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area. Our foot and ankle surgeons are available at locations in or near Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, the San Fernando Valley, El Segundo, the South Bay, LAX, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Valencia, Santa Clarita, and Santa Barbara.

 

 

 

StimRouter FAQs 

 

What are the risks related to the StimRouter System? 

Nerve injury is possible, although unlikely. Possible surgical complications include infection, cellulitis, abscess, fever, sepsis, bleeding, and temporary pain at the implant site.

 

How long should the implanted lead stay in the body? 

We will discuss your individualized treatment plan during your consultation. However, the StimRouter lead is designed to be a long-term implant. 

 

What can I expect during and after the procedure?

It is a simple procedure performed under local anesthesia. You will be awake during the procedure to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the stimulation. The small incisions should heal within 2-3 weeks. At that time, you will receive education on how to use your implant.

 

Does StimRouter require a prescription? 

Yes, a prescription from your physician is required.

 

How often will the StimRouter System need to be programmed after the initial setup?

Your StimRouter will initially be programmed with up to eight different stimulation programs to turn off/on and increase or decrease the stimulation intensity. If the programs no longer provide appropriate pain relief, contact your physician to have it reprogrammed.

 

Does my insurance cover the StimRouter System? 

The StimRouter System is often covered by insurance if it is deemed medically necessary. 

 

Sources 

Oswald J, Shahi V, Chakravarthy KV. PProspective, multicenter, randomized, double-blinded, partial crossover study to assess the safety and efficacy of the novel neuromodulation system in the treatment of patients with chronic pain of peripheral nerve origin. Pain Manage. 2019;9(6):551-8. doi:10.2217/pmt-2019-0028

 

Ong Sio, L. C., Hom, B., Garg, S., & Abd-Elsayed, A. (2023). Mechanism of Action of Peripheral Nerve Stimulation for Chronic Pain: A Narrative Review. International journal of molecular sciences, 24(5), 4540. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24054540

  • Foot and Ankle Surgeon at University Foot and Ankle Institute
    Dr. Johnson, Podiatrist

    Dr. Abimbola Johnson completed his undergraduate degree at Loyola University Chicago, where he played Division II rugby and was also involved in social justice clubs aimed at helping younger students prepare for college.

     

    Upon graduation, he entered Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, where he served as president of the practice management club and volunteered as coordinator at the Free Foot Clinic in Chicago. He served his residency at Regions Hospital/Health Partners in St. Paul.

     

    Dr. Johnson provides comprehensive medical and surgical care for a wide spectrum of foot and ankle conditions, including common and complex disorders and injuries. The doctor is uniquely qualified to detect the early stages of disease that exhibit warning signs in the lower extremities, such as diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.

     

    Dr. Johnson can be seen at our Santa Barbara location

     

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