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While Neurostimulation Implants Were Significantly Impacted by COVID-19, Emerging Minimally or Non-Invasive Procedures Expected to Grow

Published on Feb 15, 2022

Neurostim Impants Significantly Impacted

Topic/Category: Neuromodulation, Procedures

Since the early 19th century, it’s been known that the brain and nervous system works via the transmission of electrical signals. Since that time, scientists have been interested in using electrical signals to impact the brain and possibly offer treatments for various illnesses and conditions. This became a practical idea in the 20th century, but progress was slow, and the field stagnated for many decades.

In recent years, however, as technology has advanced, neurostimulation has emerged as an exciting new treatment area in the field of medicine. The technique, which can be non-invasive and external or done through implants, uses electrical signals to directly stimulate nerves for various purposes.

The range of illnesses and conditions treated using neurostimulation is wide-ranging. It can help relieve symptoms and reduce pain associated with spinal injuries, Parkinson’s disease, incontinence, tinnitus, hearing problems, and many other conditions. Two of the most familiar neurostimulation applications include the relief of chronic pain and cochlear implants. While often surgical in nature, neurostimulation can be modified or turned on and off in an analogous fashion to adjust the dosage of prescription medication or stimulation delivered. Over the past decade, interest in and use of neurostimulation has exploded.

In fact, according to the Medtech Pro Global Neuromodulation Devices Market Report, $4.6 billion was spent on these devices in 2020. After a large rebound in 2021, when more elective procedures were brought back online, growth is expected to continue at a solid 2%-4% through 2025. This is true even with an expected drop in unit volume by around 1% in 2022 and slow growth of less than 1% in unit volume through 2025.

Medtronic continues to be a leader in the Neuromodulation space, commanding an incredible 54.8% market share in 2020, while other important players in this market are Abbott, Cyberonics, Liva Nova, and Nevro.


The Impacts of COVID-19

LSI’s Medtech Pro Global Procedure Tracker covers surgical procedure volumes across 37 countries and 12 major surgical markets (e.g., orthopedics, ENT, aesthetics). This includes tracking of neurosurgery and procedures involving neurostimulation implants. A comparison of LSI’s data from Procedure Tracker with the Medtech Pro COVID-19 Impact Tracker shows that COVID-19 had a massive impact on multiple classes of medical procedures. 

Generally speaking, this has happened as a result of prohibitions or restrictions on the performance of elective procedures. Of course, to the patient, whether a procedure is “elective” or not can be subjective; nonetheless, procedures involving neurostimulation are elective, as deemed by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Therefore, 2020 saw a significant impact on the number of procedures performed and the sales volume for neurostimulation devices.

Moreover, while more critical elective procedures have been expected to rebound quickly as the pandemic subsides, neurostimulators may see an extended decline as healthcare systems remain constrained by space or capacity to perform these procedures as the medical system struggles to recover from multiple waves of COVID-19 variants.

The market for these devices is significant. According to Medtech Pro’s 2020 (Post-COVID) MD&D Interim Report Update, in 2019, the global market for neurostimulators was $4.8 billion. One of the biggest subfields in this area is spinal cord stimulation. This can be done by implanting a device during a surgical procedure that sends low-level electrical signals to the spinal cord to relieve pain. It’s a promising technology that provides an alternative to long-term pharmaceutical treatments, like opioids. 

In 2019, sales of spinal cord stimulation devices were $2.46 billion globally. The impact on spinal cord stimulation devices from COVID-19 has been significant; sales dropped dramatically to $1.6 billion in 2020. However, growth is expected to resume at very robust levels as the pandemic subsides, with sales figures expected to reach $3.56 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 7.70% for the period.

Deep brain stimulation is another emerging area of interest. In this procedure, electrodes are implanted into the brain itself to deliver electrical signals. The strength of the signals can be controlled using a device located in the chest area. The method can be used to help alleviate the symptoms of serious conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. It’s a more serious and invasive procedure since this involves implanting electrodes in the brain itself. Nonetheless, deep brain stimulation was also significantly impacted by COVID due to its elective nature.

While currently a smaller market than spinal cord stimulation, sales volume for deep brain stimulation devices is expected to grow at a similar CAGR of 7.02% through 2024. This is after experiencing a stunning drop of more than 50% in 2020 as a result of COVID.

For the market as a whole, the trends look solid over the next five years for neurostimulation.


Visit LSI’s Medtech Pro platform for more market data on the global market for neuromodulation devices, as well as other Medtech markets.

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