First Patient in Minnesota Treated with New Medtronic SynchroMed III Targeted Drug Delivery System for Pain

 // News

January 9  

EDINA, Minn. January 9, 2024 – Nura Pain Clinics, the Twin Cities’ foremost multidisciplinary pain management clinic, announced today that the first patient in Minnesota has been implanted with the new Medtronic SynchroMed™ III implantable drug pump for the treatment of chronic pain. The implant procedure was performed by Nura’s Dr. Erin Bettendorf, an experienced interventional pain management physician and Minneapolis native who graduated from Harvard Medical School.

The patient, Scott Thompson, had an injury many years ago that caused severe chronic pain that limited his daily functioning and prevented him from being able to fully participate in activities he enjoyed. Despite trying a wide variety of treatments over many years, he continued to have debilitating pain. Scott eventually underwent a trial for targeted drug delivery at Nura, where he experienced the best pain relief he had in years and chose to proceed with a permanent intrathecal pain pump implant. Following the surgery, he was pleased with how comfortable he felt. Scott is excited to continue to recover and start getting back to his favorite hobbies that he has missed. 

“After 32 years of relentless, debilitating pain with no relief, I was given the gift of a brand-new start. Today, I was implanted with Medtronic’s next-generation intrathecal pain pump which has already changed my life dramatically,” said Thompson. “My life begins anew today, and I cannot wait to experience all that is ahead.”

Medtronic announced FDA approval of the new SynchroMed III implantable drug delivery system in October 2023 for treatment of chronic and cancer pain. The system alleviates symptoms by delivering medication directly to the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. SynchroMed III is an upgraded system compared to the SynchroMed II system, featuring improved electronics with firmware capable of being updated after implant, additional protections for patient data through enhanced cybersecurity, and a new “refill only” physician workflow for more efficient programming. The system also carries forward several mid-generation durable design enhancements from the SynchroMed II pump which have contributed to the long-term safety and reliability of the device.1

“At Nura, we focus on serving our patients with compassionate and individualized care and the most advanced technology, so I’m incredibly excited to be one of the first in the nation to provide this new pain management option to patients suffering from debilitating chronic pain, cancer pain or severe spasticity,” said Dr. Bettendorf. “These patients have tried and exhausted many other options and Medtronic’s new therapy offers pain relief and hope providing a better quality of life to those who so desperately need it.” 

Opioid abuse and misuse remains a significant problem. Targeted drug delivery therapy is a safe, proven and effective way to manage chronic pain, cancer pain or severe spasticity with greater efficacy, fewer side effects and a high degree of clinician control as compared to oral medication.2,3,4,5,6,7,8 The system delivers medication directly to the fluid surrounding the spinal cord via a catheter connected to a small, battery-powered programmable pump. Patients with the SynchroMed III system will continue to have access to diagnostic imaging through industry-leading 1.5T and 3T full-body MRI conditionality.9

At Nura, patients can receive a full range of care from medication management, physical therapy and behavioral health coordinated with minimally invasive interventional procedures all within the same practice. This is a critical advantage for patients who otherwise may receive fragmented pain management by multiple providers at multiple locations. For more complex chronic pain problems, Nura offers a full range of implantable pain control options including spinal cord stimulation and targeted spinal drug delivery devices including the SynchroMed III system. Nura’s multidisciplinary approach also aims to dial down the need for opioids to treat pain. 

For more information on Nura Pain Clinics and its focus on pain management, visit


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