Here is a list of our prospective clients’ most frequently asked questions and our answers. If you can’t find the answer to your questions here, please feel free to contact us directly.
Epidural electrical stimulation of the spinal cord is the application of an electrical current to the lower part of the spinal cord. In this technique, a specialised device is surgically implanted in the epidural space. When switched on, it delivers low-frequency electric currents to the spinal cord which the nervous systems can translate into muscle response.
Recent research involved four men in the USA with spinal cord injuries who were unable to move their lower extremities prior to the implantation of an epidural stimulator. The breakthrough was in discovering precisely how to connect the device to the nervous system.
The stimulator delivers electrical currents to the participants’ lower spinal cord. This continuous electric current mimics the current ordinarily delivered by the brain thus enabling the spinal cord to control those body movements.
Every patient who has received the epidural stimulator so far was able to quickly learn how to voluntarily control their muscle activity during stimulation. The improvements progressed with extensive rehabilitation and locomotor training. A follow-up paper published in July 2015 shows all four men were able to stand after extensive rehabilitation: http://epiduralstimulationnow.com/research/
It is observed that the epidural stimulation patients who also received mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) showed improvements much quicker than the epidural stimulation alone, and those improvements were much more remarkable. For example, the first patient who got epidural stimulation in combination with mesenchymal stem cells treatment and extensive rehab/training took just seven weeks to reach a stage of improvement that took around seven months in patients who received epidural stimulation alone.
Mesenchymal stem cell treatment plays an important role in repairing the injured spinal cord and helping the epidural stimulation to create new nerve pathways much quicker.
MSCs treatment alone has also greatly helped SCI patients for many years. http://epiduralstimulationnow.com/the-treatment/
The treatment package is comprehensive and all inclusive. It includes an extensive stem cells treatment protocol (150 million or more mesenchymal stem cells), extensive rehab and locomotor training (including mapping the device to the patients condition), and extensive supportive therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen chamber, aqua therapy, acupuncture, and nutrition therapy. Around 150 scheduled individual treatment sessions are included during the hospital stay. This unique combination makes this treatment package the most extensive treatment available for spinal cord injury patients in the world.
Firstly, the rehab includes the mapping procedure where the device is calibrated to the patient’s condition through multiple stimulation sessions over one month.
Secondly, extensive rehabilitation and muscle training have shown great benefits in spinal cord injury patients by increasing motor function, muscle strength, and balance and coordination. It is believed that extensive muscle training results in new nerve pathways along the injured spinal cord thus promoting communication between spinal cord and the brain.
The procedure itself is highly specialised but minimally invasive. During the procedure, multiple electrodes are placed into the epidural space over the nerve roots at lower levels of spinal cord and the pulse generator device is placed under the nearby skin (subcutaneously). This takes two to three hours and training can begin within a few days.
There are no serious side effects associated with the procedure as it a minimally invasive surgery. The possible side effects such as a rash or infection around the incision site are not serious, and are easily manageable.
There are two basic types of the epidural stimulation which are being used in medical practice. The first one involves a single lead and comparatively lower frequency currents, and is being used to treat chronic neuropathic pain. The other one involves multiple plate electrodes and uses comparatively higher frequency currents which is being used for spinal cord injury patients.
The electrode plates are suitable to stay permanently but the neurostimulator device (the part which also contains battery) has a battery life of up to nine years and should require a replacement after that period.
Research and case histories show that epidural stimulation works for both complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries. All of the patients treated so far were with chronic spinal cord injuries so doctors believe that the epidural stimulation can work for very old injuries as well. For full information, please see http://epiduralstimulationnow.com/success-stories/ + ‘Could You Be Next?’.
Good results have been achieved by every patient globally to date. As with all medical procedures there are variations between patients and no individual treatment outcome is guaranteed
Typical results have been: