Commonly Asked Questions and Answers
What is Epidural Stimulation for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)?
Epidural Stimulation involves the surgical implantation of an “Epidural Stimulation device” on the posterior structures of the lumbar spinal cord. A handheld remote controller controls the device, which applies an electrical current that connects compromised nerve signals originating in the brain to the Spinal Cord tissue below the patient’s injury level. This “bridge” effect allows for the possibility of patients regaining voluntary movements and restoring lost bodily functions.
What is the success rate?
So far, every patient with a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) who has received Epidural Stimulation with Unique Access Medical (UAM) has regained voluntary control of his or her muscle activity when the device is turned on. The improvements in voluntary control progress with UAM’s extensive rehabilitation and locomotor training.
Where does the Epidural Stimulation surgery take place?
The surgery takes place in either our flagship facility in Bangkok, Thailand (a specialty hospital that has earned Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation — which is considered the gold standard in global healthcare certification for excellence in treatment quality and patient safety), or in our partner hospital in New Delhi, India (a world-renowned institute for brain and spine treatments). The majority of worldwide Epidural Stimulation patients are treated in these two facilities.
Am I a candidate? What medical documents are required?
Epidural Stimulation treatment works for patients with complete or incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI). We have treated both paraplegics and quadriplegics with a 100% success rate — all of our patients have regained motor function in their lower limbs.
In order to become an Epidural Stimulation patient through Unique Access Medical (UAM), we require a full series of MRI images, medical reports, treatment history, and the condition of the injury site. Written MRI reports may not be sufficient for our evaluation process; a prerequisite to Epidural Stimulation is having an in-depth knowledge of each patient’s case.
Where can the person accompanying me find accommodation?
Family and friends who accompany Epidural Stimulation patients can stay at the hospital with the patient in a private hospital room with two beds. There are no extra costs, and family is always welcome, especially during such an inspiring, life-changing treatment.
What is included in the treatment package?
The Epidural Stimulation treatment package covers 30-35 days and is inclusive of all treatment-related costs: Regenerative Medicine Treatment, Intensive Rehabilitation, Locomotor Training, and Device Mapping which is a process that programs your Epidural Stimulation device for maximum effectiveness. During your stay, you will receive over 100 sessions of supportive treatment, which is arguably the most comprehensive program in the world for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) patients.
Also included is accommodation for both the patient and accompanying caregiver. During the first 14 days of recovery, patients receive 24/7 nursing care. All rooms and facilities are fully wheelchair accessible. Meals are also provided for patients three times per day with a nutritious menu of both local and international fare.
What are hospital’s basic nursing services for SCI patients?
We will make sure that during the 14-day postoperative period, each patient will have access to 24/7 nursing care, including showering, dressing, wound care, and bowel care upon request.
What is a typical day in the hospital like?
Every Monday to Saturday we provide intensive training to speed up your recovery, which includes 4-6 hours of device mapping and physiotherapy per day. In the morning, doctors will meet you for regular checkups. In the evening, patients can enjoy private time or meet in the recreation area with other patients and their friends and family. Sundays are a rest day for our patients.
Is the surgery painful? Is it highly invasive?
The surgery is not painful and it is minimally invasive. The Epidural Stimulation device’s electrodes will be implanted on your spine, and a battery called an Initial Pulse Generator will be placed near your hip subcutaneously. The procedure typically takes two to three hours. After surgical wounds heal, and if no spinal cord or superficial wound infections are reported, the rehabilitation can begin within a few days.
What are the possible side effects?
There are no serious side effects associated with the procedure. It is a minimally-invasive surgery conducted by highly-experienced neuro/spine surgeons. Possible side effects such as infection around the incision site are extremely unusual and are easy to treat in a short time.
How long does the device stay in the body?
The Epidural Stimulation device is suited to stay on your spine permanently; the warranty for the battery pack is nine years. Both can be safely removed or replaced whenever necessary.
What are the potential results for Spinal Cord Injury Patients?
Is Epidural Stimulation treatment from Unique Access Medical considered a trial?
- Voluntary movement in lower limbs
- Ability to stand
- Ability to take assisted steps
- Increased muscle mass and strength
- Improved bowel and bladder control
- Stabilized blood pressure
- Improved temperature regulation
- Improved bodily sensation
- Decreased neuropathic pain
The U.S. FDA has approved trials for Epidural Stimulation, the completion of which is estimated for 2025. As Unique Access Medical (UAM) already knows the treatment is safe and effective, we confidently offer it to patients commercially right now, no delays, because we understand how crucial your time is in the recovery process. Unlike the U.S. FDA clinical trials, every international patient who is a suitable candidate can receive Epidural Stimulation today.
How is Unique Access Medical’s Epidural Stimulation treatment different from the U.S. FDA trials?
While Clinical Trials focus on the safety and efficacy of the procedure, Unique Access Medical (UAM)’s goal is to get SCI patients back on their feet as soon as possible. And since we work with the world’s most experienced Epidural Stimulation surgeons and physiotherapists, you can expect the best outcomes possible at this point in time from UAM.
Should I wait for treatment until Epidural Stimulation is FDA approved?
FDA approval for Epidural Stimulation may take years, possibly decades to be announced. Since both aging and decreased muscle mass are factors in who is suitable for Epidural Stimulation, we encourage patients to undergo the treatment as early as possible.