Spinal cord injury (SCI) has been among the most serious health problems worldwide. If you ever suffer from spinal cord injury, you should understand how drastically your life changes as a result.
Over the years, scientists have come up with various methods to better the life of SCI patients. One particular treatment that has been capturing the attention of both patients and researchers is the Epidural Stimulation Treatment (EST).
What is Epidural Stimulation Treatment (EST)?
Epidural Stimulation Treatment (EST) involves the implantation of a neuro-stimulator device into the epidural space by the backside of the vertebral spine. The device supplies electrical currents that connect the brain and the spinal cord. This enables transmission of signals from the brain’s nerve cells to the spinal cord tissue.
What is the purpose of Epidural Stimulation Treatment (EST)?
Epidural Stimulation Treatment (EST) has shown great potential in the treatment of spinal cord injury. While it is not a complete cure for the condition, researchers have found that EST can help patients regain certain bodily functions. Potential improvements include the ability to stand up/ take assisted steps, improved motor function, increased sensitivity, decreased spasticity, less neuropathic pain, improved bladder and bowel function, etc.
How is EST carried out?
The Epidural Stimulation treatment lasts between 35-45 days. During this period, the patient will undergo extensive rehabilitation programs, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, aqua therapy, etc. In order to perform the procedure, the doctor may require a series of MRI images, medical reports and treatment history.
In the first stage, the patient will undergo minimally invasive surgery to implant the stimulator device onto their spine. This device allows neurological signals to bypass the injury zone in the spinal cord, resulting in a regain of voluntary motor function for the patient’s lower limbs. The surgery typically takes about 2-3 hours. After that, if no infections are reported, the rehabilitation can begin within a few days.
Apart from surgery and rehabilitation, the treatment protocol also includes multiple stem cell injections to increase the chance of improvement for SCI patients.
Read more about Stem Cell Treatment here: Everything you need to know about Stem Cell Treatment
Complications & Side Effects
As EST involves a minimally-invasive surgery, there are virtually no serious complications inherent within the procedure. Possible side effects such as infection around the incision site are uncommon and easy to treat.
All medical treatments have varied outcomes, however. Examples of previous treatment outcomes should not be taken as typical or a guarantee of what any individual can expect.
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Epidural Stimulation | Spinal Cord Injury Treatment. https://epiduralstimulationnow.com. Accessed on July 4, 2019.