A new technology that revolutionizes the way low back pain is diagnosed and treated, while also significantly reducing healthcare costs, has been introduced by SpineMatrix® Inc., an Akron, Ohio-based medical technology company that specializes in advanced spinal diagnostics.
SpineMatrix’s new, non-invasive Lumbar Matrix™ Scan uses high-speed computer processing of thousands of bioelectric signals to observe neuromuscular activity of the low back. The advanced diagnostic technology allows physicians to accurately identify the source of low back pain, which helps determine proper treatment and can result in significant savings for patients and the healthcare industry.
Low back pain is the most common and costly disabling condition in the United States, affecting nearly 31 million Americans. Current diagnostic methods used most frequently to detect lower back pain – such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans – take into account the anatomy of the back but not the physiology. These methods often fail to pinpoint the precise cause of pain for this reason. More than 85 percent of patients with low back pain are never given a specific diagnosis, leading to ineffective treatment and billions of dollars spent in unnecessary healthcare costs. Additionally, invasive procedures, including surgery, may follow misdiagnosed lower back pain, further elevating healthcare spending. Since 1997, U.S. spending on diagnosis and treatment of spinal disorders increased 65 percent, as indicated by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“The Lumbar Matrix Scan was developed to help physicians more precisely diagnose the cause of low back pain and prescribe the best form of treatment to alleviate the pain,” said Ben Shappley, president and CEO of SpineMatrix. “Not only are we improving patient care, but we’re providing a tool with the real potential to save millions of dollars for consumers, employers and health plans.”
The Lumbar Matrix Scan collects thousands of bioelectrical signals from the back and reconstructs them into easily interpreted images, which helps physicians to differentially diagnose lower back pain by identifying disc, facet and muscle pathology.
The FDA-approved procedure monitors and displays the bioelectric signals produced by the paraspinal neuromuscular system using an array of 63 sensors that are placed on the back. The sensors are connected to a computer, which is calibrated to read the neuromuscular activity covered by the electrode grid.
Typically, the scan is used to capture three lower back scans of the patient in varying stances:
— Standing relaxed with arms at side (baseline)
— Flexing at the hips to a 20-degree angle
— Standing with arms outstretched in front holding a three-pound weight in each hand
The image of the bioelectric signals produced by the low back muscles indicates the precise origin of low back pain. The procedure is fast, taking less than 15 minutes, and costs much less than an MRI, CT scan or invasive procedures. Factor in the savings on unnecessary treatments to relieve the pain, and the positive impact on healthcare costs significantly increases.
In blinded clinical studies at the Cleveland Clinic, Texas Back Institute and The Ohio State University College of Medicine, the Lumbar Matrix Scan was shown to be a safe, non-invasive and effective diagnostic procedure.
“Patients are already benefiting from the Lumbar Matrix Scan’s ability to more accurately identify the source of low back pain,” said Shappley. “But many individuals continue to suffer from ineffective treatments stemming from improper diagnosis. The Lumbar Matrix Scan provides a solution to improve diagnosis for these individuals, ultimately enabling physicians to prescribe the most effective treatments.”
Source: SpineMatrix Inc.