TOPAZ(TM) Brings New Hope for Tennis Elbow
Jul 27, 2005 - 1:53:38 PM

New study data published this month in Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery showed the use of a Coblation-based technology known as TOPAZ -- developed by ArthroCare(R) Corp. (Nasdaq:ARTC) -- to be effective when used in the treatment of common tendon disorders such as lateral epicondylitis, the condition commonly known as tennis elbow.

"Our findings from the study demonstrate this procedure is technically simple to perform and is associated with a rapid and uncomplicated recovery," said James P. Tasto, M.D. of San Diego Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center, one of the study's authors and Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of California, San Diego. "All participating patients showed significant improvement. Based upon the results of this study, the use of TOPAZ in the treatment of tendons is safe and effective for at least two years, post-op. Treatment utilizing the TOPAZ MicroDebrider offers a new, minimally invasive alternative for millions of patients for whom conservative therapies have failed."

The study, titled "Microtenotomy Using a Radiofrequency Probe to Treat Lateral Epicondylitis," consisted of thirteen subjects who had been suffering symptoms for six months or longer. Each of the patients had failed to achieve relief after conservative treatment. After treatment in which TOPAZ was used, the patients reported significant improvement only seven to 10 days after the procedures. In fact, 10 of the 13 subjects reported noticeable improvement only one or two days after the procedure.

"It's extremely gratifying when a study concerning one of our technology applications reveals such dramatically positive results," said Jack Giroux, ArthroCare Sports Medicine's President. "This is especially the case when the device in question, the TOPAZ MicroDebrider, has the opportunity to help such a large population -- those suffering from tendon conditions. While this particular study focused on the most common tendon-related complaint by patients seeking medical attention, TOPAZ is designed to be used to treat most tendons throughout the body."

The TOPAZ MicroDebrider is a wand-like device about the diameter of a pencil tip. Through a small incision, generally an inch in length, the physician applies the device to the problem tendon for multiple 500 millisecond intervals of treatment. By combining low temperature radiofrequency energy with saline, a charged plasma gas is formed at the tip of the TOPAZ wand and is precisely directed into and through the damaged tissues. From start to finish, the whole process takes less than 20 minutes.

"It should be noted," Tasto said, "that over the same period of time that the data was collected for this study, patients with other tendon conditions in the elbow, knee or shoulder were also treated using the TOPAZ wand -- and yielded similar results. I see great promise for this technology in an array of applications."

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