Robotic Exoskeleton Helps Spinal Cord Injury Patients Walk
|The ReWalk system works like a
high-tech body suit, providing motorized assistance to help paralyzed
patients stand up and move their legs. Therapists work with patients on
basic skills, such as sitting and standing, before progressing to
walking and more advanced techniques such as climbing up and down
"We have seen some of our patients with spinal cord injuries make great
progress with the ReWalk. People who thought they would never get out
of a wheelchair actually stand and walk while wearing the system," says
Peter Gorman, MD, associate
professor of neurology at the University
of Maryland School of Medicine and chief, division of
rehabilitation at the University
of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute (UMROI).
Gorman adds, "While the most obvious benefits are 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."
The exoskeleton uses motorized legs to power movement in the knee and hip. On-board computers and motion sensors adjust for movement. The system mimics natural walking, and patients can work up to functional walking speed. Forearm crutches are needed for balance.
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 be able to use the system. UMROI is the
only provider in Maryland with the ReWalk system.
"The University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute
is a national leader in rehabilitation therapy, and this exoskeleton
system shows our commitment to using innovative technologies to help
our patients achieve their highest level of functioning," says Michael
Jablonover, MD, chief executive officer of UMROI and clinical assistant
professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The 144-bed UMROI is the largest inpatient rehabilitation hospital and
provider of rehabilitation services in Maryland. Patients make the
transition to rehabilitation after recovering from stroke, traumatic
injury, orthopaedic surgery and other illnesses.
The University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute
is part of the University of Maryland Medical System, a 12-hospital
system of academic, community and specialty hospitals. For more
information, go to www.UMRehabOrtho.org.
|Posting Date: 01/31/2014
|Contact Name: Sharon Boston
|Contact Phone: 410-328-7960
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