Breakthrough Surgery Repairs Patient's Severed Spinal Cord

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One of our top priorities at Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers is to help patients living with spinal cord injury (SCI) receive appropriate medical treatment that could lead to improved quality of life.

For spinal cord patients in Ontario, a recent surgical breakthrough may offer hope. A patient who was paralyzed by SCI is able to walk again and live independently after a team of Polish surgeons successfully reconnected the man's completely severed spinal nerves.

Up to now, repairing such a spinal cord injury was thought to be impossible. The surgical technique, which was discovered by a neurological team at University College London, involved taking nerve fibres from the patient's ankle and olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) from the patient's nose.

The nerve fibres from the ankle were relocated to the spinal column to create a bridge between the ends of the severed nerves. Then the OECs, which support growth of nerve cells, were injected above and below the damaged site. With help from the OECs, the spinal nerves grew across the ankle fibres and rejoined. Now the patient is able to walk with the help of a frame and even drive a car.

The UK Stem Cell Foundation and the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF) funded the research that led to the successful procedure. According to NSIF founder David Nicholls, "The scientific information relating to this significant advancement will be made available to other researchers around the world so that together we can fight to finally find a cure for this condition which robs people of their lives."

Gluckstein Lawyers will continue to provide updates on breakthrough medical research and procedures related to SCI. Recently, we discussed important findings that are expected to help in treating involuntary muscle spasms resulting from injury to the spinal column.


The Guardian, "Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after pioneering surgery," Ben Quinn, Oct. 20, 2014


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