The University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute announces that it is using the ReWalk system to provide its patients with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) that ability to stand and walk during therapy sessions. The system is engineered to provide motorized assistance to paralyzed patients while therapists work with them on basic skills, including standing and sitting, before progressing to walking and more advanced techniques, such as climbing up and down stairs.
In a university news release, Peter Gorman, MD, associate professor of neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief, division of rehabilitation at the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute, articulates the progress the facility has seen with the ReWalk, “People who thought they would never get out of a wheelchair actually stand and walk while wearing the system.”
In addition to the benefit of mobility in a standing position, “…patients also report additional physical benefits, including improved digestion and bowel function, which can be affected after sitting in a wheelchair for months and years,” Gorman adds.
The ReWalk uses motorized legs to facilitate movement in the knee and hip, the release notes. The system features on-board computers and motion sensors to adjust for movement and is designed to mimic natural walking. Forearm crutches are used for balance.
According to the release, in order to use the system patients with lower-limb impairment have to be able to use their hands, arms and shoulders, as well as have good cardiovascular health and skeletal strength in order to operate the system.
Michael Jablonover, MD, chief executive officer, University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, states that the exoskeleton, “shows our commitment to using innovative technologies to help our patients achieve their highest level of functioning.”
For more information, visit www.UMRehabOrtho.org
Source: University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute