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New treatments herald hope for paralyzed individuals

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2015 | Spinal Cord Injuries

As many Ohio residents know, spinal cord injuries are devastating and affect nearly 276,000 Americans. Such injuries often happen due to motor vehicle or other traumatic accidents and make it impossible to do things previously taken for granted. New medical intervention is being used that might hold promise.

A spinal cord injury interferes with the electrical signals that pass from the brain to the affected area. For instance, a spinal cord injury affecting the thoracic spine would prevent the impulse from moving down the spinal cord below the chest. Alternately, an injury in the lower spine would prevent the impulse from reaching the legs.

Two new treatments are designed to send electrical signals down the spine past the injury. Both modalities are under further study and are currently being used on test subjects. One, the epidural stimulator, uses a remote device to send electrical signals to a stimulator implanted in the back. The user is able to adjust the signal configuration for the type of movement they need to make. One setting would allows the individual to change position, while another lets the individual empty his or her bladder. The other method is called a transcutaneous stimulation. It sends electrical signals to electrodes implanted on the spinal cord. Both methods have been shown to work and are signaling hope for paralyzed individuals. According to scientists, transcutaneous stimulation is less expensive and may lessen the need for invasive surgery.

A person who has received a spinal cord injury caused by the negligence of another driver may face significant medical expenses and years of rehabilitation. A personal injury attorney could be of assistance in pursuing compensation from the responsible party for the damages that have been sustained.