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Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation – Horizon performs first surgery in Canada

(Moncton) November 25, 2019 - Horizon Health Network (Horizon) Neurosurgeon Dr. Antonios El Helou has successfully performed the first surgery in Canada to implant Abbott's new neuromodulation system, known as the Proclaim™ DRG Neurostimulator System for dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation.

Horizon's The Moncton Hospital is the first facility in Canada to offer this new neuromodulation device designed to relieve the sensation of pain in patients suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), refractory persistent post surgical pain (post-inguinal hernia pain or post-knee replacement surgery), and phantom limb syndrome.  

The technology was recently approved by Health Canada and will drastically improve the quality of life of someone living with chronic pain.

Catherine Fraser of Riverview, New Brunswick, was the first patient to receive this treatment in Canada. Dr. El Helou recognized she would be an ideal candidate for the surgery, as she has been living with CRPS for most of her adult life.

"This is a game-changer for patients," said Dr. El Helou. "They will now have more control over their pain and have the ability to live a full life. Through the DRG stimulation, I can help patients target and relieve pain."

The device delivers a form of electrical stimulation that can target the specific nerve for the area of the body where pain occurs. As a result, DRG stimulation gives physicians the ability to effectively provide pain relief to patients with neuropathic conditions otherwise underserved by traditional medical therapy and spinal cord stimulation.

"It's exciting to know a day without pain is here," says Catherine. "I was a little worried about being the first patient in Canada, but also looked forward to having the technology necessary to improve my life." 

The surgery involves a small electrode being implanted on the neural foramen to target the dorsal root ganglion of specific nerve. It's connected to an internal pacemaker.  Patients can control the settings through a controller to manage their pain.

"I already have other patients ready to receive this treatment," says Dr. El Helou. "I'm pleased to be able to bring this new type of neuromodulation therapy to Horizon and my patients. It significantly changes the way we manage pain, especially in the era of an opioid crisis."

The DRG simulation has been used successfully in the United States and Europe for over five years and will now be available in some hospitals throughout Canada. Dr. El Helou is one of the first physicians in Canada to receive the training.

For Catherine, the new technology gives her the ability to have her life back and no longer be in constant pain. 

More information to follow on this exciting new technology. Horizon will be releasing a video providing an in-depth look inside the procedure and the patient journey.  


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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid
Media Relations



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