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Spinal Implant Bloats Like A Little Air Mattress For Blocking Severe Pain

Jul, 2021

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Administered with the help of a needle which is inflated as a little air mattress, this device works through exposing the spinal cord with trivial electrical currents.

Through targeting the similar mechanisms by which pain is controlled by the epidural anesthesia through child birth, engineers from the University of Cambridge, demonstrated a novel medical implant which could provide relief from severe pain of other types. Administered with the help of a needle which is inflated as a little air mattress after being in position, this device works through exposing the spinal cord with trivial electrical currents, could potentially negate the invasive surgeries’ need.

This new implant essentially is a kind of advanced stimulator for spinal cord that are devices which sit between vertebrate and spinal cord, emitting electrical pulses which disrupt signals of pain. These typically are shaped as paddles and need skilled surgeons for implanting through complex procedures. Researchers at the University of Cambridge are attempting for finding the sweet spot between the two options of treatment, through combining miniaturized electronics, microfluidics, and soft robotics. The result is this ultra-thin device of nearly a human hair’s width that is fixed with an electrodes set. It could be rolled up in a cylinder, while placing within a needle, to implant within the spinal column’s epidural space.

The device from there, is pumped either with air or water, which results in its unfurling like the tiny air mattress, covering the spinal cord’s sizable section. Connected with the pulse generator, these electrodes then begin emitting mild currents of electricity in the spinal cord that disrupts the severe pain’s signals. Down the line, it can be used for treating severe pain at regions such as the back and legs, but also tackling conditions such as Parkinson's disease and paralysis. The team expects to explore such possibilities by further testing and then the clinical trials.

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