Quadriplegic spinal cord injury patients regain arm, hand motion — 5 observations on Washington University's surgical technique


Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis researchers have developed a surgical technique that allows spinal cord injury patients to regain movement in their hands and arms, according to Washington University in St. Louis.

Researchers studied nine quadriplegic patients with neck spinal cord injuries. The Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal published the study.


Here are five observations:


1. Researchers developed a technique that connects damaged peripheral nerves with healthy ones.


2. Called nerve-transfer surgery, the technique restores some communication between the brain and the muscles.


3. Patients can have the procedure years after an injury, and the operation is four hours.


4. The procedure is ideal for patients with injuries at C6 or C7 vertebra. Surgeons "reroute healthy nerves sitting above the injury site" with the injured nerves in the hand and arm.


5. After physical therapy, patients' brains should develop the ability to recognize the new nerve signals.


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