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Implant procedure may help victims of spinal surgical errors

For Oregon patients that are victims of spinal surgical errors caused by doctor negligence, the prognosis is often grim. Paralysis below the point of the initial trauma is far too often the inevitable result, and little can be done to help those who are paralyzed regain full function of their limbs. For that reason, the compensation awarded to such victims in medical malpractice suits is often substantial, in order to cover the costs of life-long rehabilitative care.

However, medical research teams across the country are working to change the fate of spinal cord accident victims. Today's posting examines a cutting-edge surgical procedure showing promising results for victims of spinal cord injuries who suffer from some degree of paralysis.

The procedure involves the implantation of 20 million neural stem cells directly into a patient's spinal cord -- something that had never been done before. Researchers feared that the patients would have reactions to the procedure. Surprisingly, however, none experienced any unwanted side effects, and 2 out of the 3 test patients were able to regain some sensations.

Before the implantation, the patients did not have any neurological function -- or sensations -- below the point of their injuries. After the implantation, one patient was able to access three to four spinal cord segments below the paralysis point, and another was able to reach five to six segments. Now that researchers have determined the treatment to be safe, the next phases of their research will be testing the implant procedure on nine other people who have incomplete injuries or some limited sensation or function after an injury.

Source: HealthPop, "Paralyzed patients regain some sensory function after neural stem cell treatment," Michelle Castillo, Sept. 3, 2012

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