SCI patient able to walk again after breakthrough procedure

According to Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, each week 11 people in the province suffer a new spinal cord injury, and 33,000 people in Ontario are currently living with SCI. Effective surgeries for treating of this kind of devastating injury have historically been elusive, but doctors and scientists continue to make breakthroughs that give hope to SCI patients.

Recently, a man whose spinal cord was completely severed in a fall underwent a new surgical procedure that has allowed him to walk again. He was paraplegic, but now he is able to walk with the help of a frame and has resumed independent living. The 38-year-old is thought to be the first patient in the world to have recovered after suffering a complete severing of the spinal cord.

The breakthrough surgical technique was developed at University College London, and Polish surgeons performed the procedure.

The surgery involved taking nerve fibres from the patient's ankle and inserting them in the severed section of the spinal column to make a bridge between the damaged nerves. Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) from the patient's nose were then injected on either side of the damaged site. The OECs, which promote nerve cell growth, helped the spinal nerve cells grow across the ankle fibre and reconnect the spinal cord. Since the operation, the patient's leg muscles have recovered significantly, and he is able to move his hips.

Information on the new procedure, which you can read more about here, will be made available to researchers and surgeons throughout the world.

For more on the legal options for receiving appropriate medical care after a spinal cord injury, please visit our Ottawa Spinal Cord Injury overview.

On behalf of Burn Tucker Lachaîne Personal Injury Lawyers on November 08, 2014
Tags: Long Term Disability, Personal Injury, SCI, Serious Injury