According to the International Neuromodulation Society, neuromodulation is “the alteration—or modulation—of nerve activity by delivering electrical or pharmaceutical agents directly to a target area“. The neuromodulation space is witnessing one of the fastest-growing medical device markets in the healthcare industry. Several big industry players such as Abbott, Boston Scientific, and Medtronic have developed life-changing Neuromodulation devices for many indications ranging from chronic pain to Parkinson’s disease.

Neuromodulation therapies can be invasive as well as non-invasive. Examples of invasive neuromodulation therapies include cortical stimulation, deep brain stimulation (DBS), peripheral nerve stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, and vagus nerve stimulation. There also exists a broad range of non-invasive neuromodulatory devices, including electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), static magnet stimulation, and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), among others.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the most common and effective form of neurostimulation treatment option for patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease.

Abbott’s Infinity Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) system is the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The DBS system targets a specific area of the brain known as the internal globus pallidus (GPi), critical to motor function. Stimulating the GPi improves the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, not controlled by medication.

Another type of neuromodulation is sacral neuromodulation (SNM), a minimally invasive therapy for refractory overactive bladder, non-obstructive urinary retention, and fecal incontinence. The Axonics Sacral Neuromodulation (SNM) System, by Axonics Modulation Technologies, is a sacral nerve stimulation system intended to treat urinary retention and the symptoms of overactive bladder. It is an implantable pulse generator (IPG) that delivers electrical pulses through a lead wire to electrodes located near the sacral nerve. The IPG sends electrical pulses to the sacral nerve that travels from the spinal cord to the bladder to improve urinary control.

Though neuromodulation has been around for a while, it is just a beginning to be routinely applied as a therapy for appropriately selected patient groups. As technologies continue to develop, neuromodulation devices’ demand is likely to increase dramatically.