Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy bolsters spine business with Sentio buy

Spine
DePuy Synthes has added Sentio's nerve localization platform, which uses adhesive sensors rather than needle electrodes, to its spine business. (Michael Dorausch / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Synthes has acquired Sentio, which makes nerve localization technology for spine surgery, for an undisclosed amount.

Nerve localization technologies help physicians avoid injuring nerves while performing spine procedures. Most systems use several needle electrodes in the patient’s limbs to locate motor neurons in the spine. They then generate signals that a neuromonitoring specialist interprets, guiding the surgeon.

However, neurologic complications persist in spite of these nerve localization systems, DePuy said in a statement. These complications, including pain or weakness in the hip or leg, result from the bruising or stretching of nerves near the surgical area. Temporary complications affect 9.4% of patients, while permanent complications are reported in 2.5% of patients, a study showed.

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Enter Sentio, which uses adhesive sensors placed on the skin at relevant muscle groups and gives the surgeon feedback in real time. Sentio’s system does not require a specialist to set it up or to interpret signals.

"With Sentio's nerve localization technology, DePuy Synthes will strengthen its spine portfolio in decompression procedures as well as lateral surgery, and build a platform for future innovation in minimally invasive surgery," said Ciro Römer, DePuy Synthes chairman, in the statement. "The surgeon-driven approach will also help us reach more customers operating in an ambulatory surgery setting. This acquisition underscores our commitment to investing in differentiated technologies that help us reach more customers and patients around the world."

Sentio initially focused on a narrow market in southeast Michigan, but DePuy plans to use its network to roll the system out globally.

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