Now, spinal implant allows crippled to walk again

PTI London | Updated on March 03, 2013

Scientists claim to have developed a revolutionary spinal implant that allows crippled patients to walk again while relieving pain in those suffering from spinal injury.

The new device developed by scientists at London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital could benefit people suffering the agony of spinal injury.

The team has released figures on the first trial of the new spinal cord stimulation, which works by disrupting and thereby dramatically reducing pain signals to the brain, the Daily Express reported.

“This device has opened up a new frontier in pain management. Patients who have been given it have been able to come off painkilling drugs, go back to work and enjoy their lives again. There is nothing else out there that can reduce pain by this much,” Dr Adnan Al-Kaisy, a pain and electrical nerve stimulation specialist at Guy’s Hospital who led the study, said.

The research has so far been carried out on people suffering severe back and leg pain caused by spinal injury.

However, experts said the implant, which is free from side effects, could treat other painful conditions such as migraine and nerve damage.

The team, who worked with researchers in Belgium tested the implant on 83 patients. At the start of the trial patients gave eight out of 10 as an average pain score, with 10 being the worst. After six months it fell to two.

The technique involves implanting wires near the spinal cord, which are linked to a generator. This gives off high frequency electrical impulses, which the patient does not feel.

Published on March 03, 2013

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