Medtronic launches new device to help treat overactive bladder

Nuro--Courtesy of Medtronic

Medtronic ($MDT) unveiled a new device for the treatment of overactive bladder that uses an acupuncture-like needle placed under the skin near the ankle to generate gentle electrical pulses, reducing instances of urinary urgency.

Dubbed Nuro, the system delivers percutaneous tibial neuromodulation (PTNM) to the tibial nerve. The device is a minimally invasive, periodic, office-based procedure that provides a measurable decrease in urinary frequency and/or urinary incontinence episodes without the side effects of medication, the company said in a release.

The nerve stimulation resets the brain-to-bladder communication pathway and is thought to improve bladder function by zeroing in on the tibial nerve, which indirectly activates the central nervous system to help reduce symptoms.

"I can offer patients another option to restore bladder function and improve quality of life without the side effects of medication," Dr. Harriette Scarpero, a Nashville, TN, urologist, said in a statement. "This minimally invasive therapy targets the brain-bladder miscommunication and can help improve quality of life in a meaningful way."

The therapy is done in a physician's office during weekly 30-minute sessions for 12 weeks with any follow-up sessions prescribed by the doctor. The most common side effects associated with the therapy can include mild pain or skin inflammation at the stimulation site.

According to studies cited by the company, more than 37 million people in the U.S. suffer from overactive bladder, making it more common than diabetes or asthma. Of those suffering from the condition, only 33% seek treatment and as many as 7 in 10 stop using medications within 6 months because of side effects from the drugs or poor results.

- here's the Metronic release