Healthcare Industry News:  ArthroCare 

Devices Neurosurgery Orthopaedic

 News Release - May 12, 2008

Studies Presented at Spine Arthroplasty Society Annual Meeting Find Plasma Disc Decompression Effective for Contained Disc Herniation

AUSTIN, Texas--(HSMN NewsFeed)--ArthroCare Corp. (Nasdaq: ARTC ), a leader in developing state-of-the-art, minimally invasive surgical products, today announced that a study demonstrating the effectiveness of plasma disc decompression (PDD) for treating patients with contained disc herniation was presented from the podium last week at the Eighth-Annual Spine Arthroplasty Society meeting. PDD is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia and light sedation.

Alessandro Cesaroni, MD, vice chief in neurosurgery, Policlinico Casilino Hospital, Rome, Italy, and principal investigator presented prospective, randomized, controlled study of 85 patients comparing PDD to conservative care for the treatment of contained cervical disc herniation. The study found that PDD patients enjoyed earlier resolution of symptoms and functional improvement, and had significantly greater pain relief at 12 months. One-year results for the trial have also been accepted as an oral presentation at the North American Spine Society Annual Meeting in October 2008.

“In our study, we determined PDD to be an effective alternative for patients who experience pain and symptoms associated with cervical disc herniation that do not resolve spontaneously over time. PDD patients experienced significantly greater reduction in pain than patients under conservative care at both six- and twelve-month follow-up visits,” said Dr. Cesaroni.

The PDD procedure is used to treat patients with symptoms associated with a contained disc herniation. The procedure utilizes Coblation®, a patented technology that uses electrical energy combined with a conductive medium, such as saline solution, to form a plasma that gently and precisely dissolves soft tissue, at relatively low temperatures, minimizing damage to adjacent, healthy tissue. The result is that when a portion of the disc nucleus is removed, the herniated disc is decompressed. Approximately 100,000 PDD procedures have been performed to date. The Federal Food and Drug Administration cleared Coblation for use in PDD procedures in 2001.

Results from a second PDD study by Peter C. Gerszten, MD, associate professor of neurological surgery and director of the Percutaneous Spine Service at the University of Pittsburgh, compared PDD to fluoroscopy-guided transforminal epidural injections (TFESI) for contained lumbar disc herniation was displayed as a poster in the Exhibit Hall. Dr. Gerszten’s multi-center, prospective randomized controlled study of 90 patients with leg and back pain due to contained lumbar disc herniation concluded patients treated with PDD experienced significantly greater pain reduction and improved quality of life at six weeks, three months and six months following the procedure.

“Contained lumbar disc herniation is a difficult condition to treat and often responds poorly to conservative care,” said Dr. Gerszten. “This study concluded PDD reduced leg and back pain and impacted the patient’s quality of life, suggesting PDD is a viable treatment alternative.”

Quality of life was measured using SF-36 physical component summary scores, which revealed significantly more PDD patients were satisfied with treatment than TFESI patients, six months after treatment.

Dr. Gerszten’s trial results will also be presented as an oral presentation at the North American Spine Society Annual Meeting in October 2008.

ABOUT ArthroCare

Founded in 1993, ArthroCare Corporation ( is a highly innovative, multi-business medical device company that develops, manufactures and markets minimally invasive surgical products. With these products, ArthroCare targets a multi-billion dollar market opportunity across several medical specialties, significantly improving existing surgical procedures and enabling new, minimally invasive procedures. Many of ArthroCare's products are based on its patented Coblation® technology, which uses low-temperature radiofrequency energy to gently and precisely dissolve rather than burn soft tissue – minimizing damage to healthy tissue. Used in more than four million surgeries worldwide, Coblation®-based devices have been developed and marketed for sports medicine; spine/neurologic; ear, nose and throat (ENT); cosmetic; urologic and gynecologic procedures. ArthroCare also has added a number of novel technologies to its portfolio, including Opus Medical sports medicine, Parallax spine and Applied Therapeutics ENT products, to complement Coblation® within key indications.


Except for historical information, this press release includes forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, the company's stated business outlook for fiscal 2008, continued strength of the company's fundamental position, the strength of the company's technology, the company's belief that strategic moves will enhance achievement of the company's long term potential, the potential and expected rate of growth of new businesses, continued success of product diversification efforts, and other statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to the uncertainty of success of the company's non-arthroscopic products, competitive risk, uncertainty of the success of strategic business alliances, uncertainty over reimbursement, need for governmental clearances or approvals before selling products, the uncertainty of protecting the company's patent position, and any changes in financial results from completion of year-end audit activities. These and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including ArthroCare's Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2007 and Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2007. Forward-looking statements are indicated by words or phrases such as "anticipates," "estimates," "projects," "believes," "intends," "expects," and similar words and phrases. Actual results may differ materially from management expectations.

Source: ArthroCare

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