Complete spinal cord injuries occur when some kind of physical trauma severs the spinal cord. Given the way the spinal cord facilitates muscular control through electrical impulses, it makes sense that those with complete injuries lose both physical sensation and motor function below the location of the injury.
Historically, complete spinal cord injuries have meant a permanent loss of function. The injury causes a gap in the spinal cord that prevents the transmission of electrical impulses, even if there is healthy spinal cord tissue below the site of the injury. The tissue will not regrow or heal itself.
However, researchers have recently reported success in helping adult men regain motor function after a complete spinal cord injury. They effectively bridged that gap to improve the mobility and quality of life of the men involved in the study.
What were researchers able to do for injured patients?
Specialists combined intensive physical therapy with the implantation of an electrode in the spine to help those with traumatic spinal cord injuries regain some function. In all three of the patients, researchers made use of healthy spinal cord tissue below the injury site. Through surgically implanted electrodes and special software, as well as physical therapy, those who underwent the procedure were able to regain some independent walking ability.
It will be some time before such treatment is available on a broader scale, but the outcome of this research is quite promising for those living with spinal cord injuries. Following medical research and pursuing compensation can help those with spinal cord injuries get the most cutting-edge treatments available.