People with chronic pain resulting from failed back surgery or long-standing low back and leg pain have typically exhausted all other pain-fighting resources before they turn to the Eon Mini implantable pulse generator from St. Jude Medical in Little Canada. The Eon Mini is a neurostimulation device that sends targeted electrical pulses to nerves near the spinal cord to help ease pain in multiple areas of the body.
“We developed the rechargeable spinal cord stimulation system with the best longevity,” says Chris Chavez, president of St. Jude’s neuromodulation division. The Eon Mini’s battery can last up to 10 years before being replaced. “The thing that makes the Eon Mini really special is that we’ve created a tremendous amount of programming. [We can] program it in many ways . . . to optimize therapy for the patient,” Chavez says.
A physician implants thin wires called leads in the epidural space near the spinal cord and attaches them to an implanted pulse generator. The small size of the pulse generator means that it’s virtually undetectable under the skin. An external programmer wirelessly “talks” to the pulse generator and delivers a digital prescription developed specifically to meet the patient’s pain-management needs.
By activating a stimulus called parathesia—a tingling sensation from the electrical impulses—the Eon Mini can block the pain from being perceived by the brain. Essentially, patients feel tingling instead of pain.