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What is ReActiv8?

ReActiv8 is an implantable neurostimulation system that includes an implantable pulse generator, two stimulation leads, a magnet, and a wireless remote. ReActive8 is an alternative to spinal cord stimulators, and delivers electrical stimulation pulses to nerves that are responsible for activating the lumbar multifidus muscles, that stabilizes the spine. This helps to regenerate function of these muscles, in some cases leading to the device being used less frequently, or no longer needed.

What Does it Treat?

Some patients with chronic low back pain will have their multifidus muscles fail to activate, causing instability in the lower back and spine. By delivering electrical stimulation to the lumbar multifidus muscles, ReActiv8 is able to facilitate the activation of these muscles, which helps return stability. The stimulator is used for 30 minutes, twice a day, in order to help recover function and strength of the muscles.

How Does the Procedure Work?

During the minimally-invasive ReActiv8 procedure, the patient will lie down on their stomach. General anesthesia will be administered, preventing the patient from experiencing pain or discomfort during the procedure. The physician will insert leads into the back, near the medial branch nerves. The medial branch nerves stimulate contractions of the lumbar multifidus muscles, the muscles that allow for stability of the spine.

An incision is made in the buttocks, and the other end of the catheters are pulled out through the opening. The catheters are connected to the pulse device, and it is inserted into the opening in the buttocks. The incisions are closed by the surgeon, and the patient is monitored in a recovery room before being released. The patient will need someone to drive them home following the procedure. Patients may experience initial discomfort and limited movement, however and most patients may return to their normal routine within 24 hours, however any activity that can strain the spine, such as lifting heavy objects, should be avoided for up to 6 weeks.

What are the Risks?

As with all surgery, a risk of infection is present. Due to ReActiv8 being a minimally-invasive surgery, infection risk is much lower than open surgery. Rare complications with the device, such as a lead moving or becoming dislodged, or the device stops working, can occur. A battery replacement will be necessary every 5 to 7 years, depending on how frequently the device is used.

Benefits of ReActiv8

By stimulating muscles, rather than interrupting pain signals, ReActiv8 is able to help the body heal, and return to normal function. By restoring function to the lumbar multifidus muscles, ReActiv8 allows patients with chronic lower back pain to recover, when previous methodologies have failed.