A new surgical procedure may offer patients with spinal cord injuries a ray of hope. British researchers have discovered that taking regenerative cells from a patient’s nasal cavity and implanting them above and below the damaged site in the spinal cord can promote nerve cell grown and reconnect severed nerve endings.
The surgery was performed on a Polish man whose spinal column was severed in a knife attack. He was unable to walk prior to the procedure, but now he has regained muscle control and sensation in his legs. With the help of a walking frame, the man can walk again.
The British professor who conducted the breakthrough research had this to say: “I believe we have now opened the door to a treatment of spinal cord injury which will get patients out of wheelchairs. Our goal is to develop this first procedure to a point where it can be rolled out as a worldwide general approach.”
The treatment involved transplanting nerve fibers from the patient’s ankle into his spinal column. Cells from the patient’s olfactory bulb were then injected on either side of the damage site in the spinal cord, and the olfactory cells promoted nerve cell growth across the tissue from the ankle. The severed ends of the nerves grew back together.
Ten months after the procedure, the patient was able to use a walking frame and leg braces to walk again. You can read more about this remarkable procedure here.
To learn more about the available legal options after a spinal cord injury, please visit our Serious Injury overview.