Paralyzed Man Rehabilitated With New Implanted Spinal Cord Stimulator
A paralyzed man, Jered Chinnock, completely paralyzed below the middle of his back in 2013, in a ski accident, is now able to walk again.
He was diagnosed with a complete loss of function below the spinal cord injury, meaning he could not move or feel anything below the middle of his torso.
The successful rehabilitation comes from researchers at the Mayo Clinic and the UCLA Medical Center. Both research groups devised a new spinal cord stimulator that is implanted into the back. The patient went through scores of rehab sessions and his recovery is truly remarkable.
In the rehabilitation sessions, Chinnock’s spinal cord was stimulated by an implanted electrode, enabling neurons to receive the signal that he wanted to stand or step.
At this point in time, and with continuing rehab sessions, Mr. Chinnock shows very impressive progress. He uses a front-wheeled walker and is able to stand alone and make independent steps while holding onto the walker. Therapists walk with him in case he needs assistance. His goal is to reach the point where he can walk totally on his own, anywhere, without assistance.
Here are some current statistics taken from the most recent rehabilitation sessions:
- Total distance walking: 111 yards (102 meters) — about the length of a football field
- Number of steps: 331
- Total minutes walking with assistance: 16 minutes
- Step speed: 13 yards per minute (0.20 meters per second)
Mr. Chinnock still doesn’t feel his legs, and initially needed mirrors in order to see where they were. He has since adapted and has learned to become more efficient in his walking, getting farther and farther over time.
Paralyzed Man: Rehab Began in 2016
Mr. Chinnocks, injury is located at the thoracic vertebrae in the middle of his back. He was diagnosed with a complete loss of function below the spinal cord injury, and was totally paralyzed below the middle of his torso.
Rehabilitation began in 2016, with 22 weeks of physical therapy. Next, he had an electrode surgically implanted by the Mayo Clinic neurosurgery team.
The implant sits at the outermost part of the spinal canal directly below the injured area. The electrode connects to a pulse generator device under the skin of Chinnock’s abdomen and communicates with an external controller. The Mayo Clinic received permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to use the device for a condition not currently covered by its FDA-approved label.
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