Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cool new procedure might help next guy

A relatively new treatment protocol is providing nearly miraculous results for some victims of spinal cord injuries, reports the Miami Herald. In the case of one 20-year-old gymnast from Florida, hypothermic treatment before surgery appears to have prevented profound paralysis and put him back on his feet just days after the accident.

The young gymnast, a state champion, was practicing for an audition with the Cirque de Soleil when a double flip went badly wrong. He missed and landed squarely on his head.

The young man sustained a bilateral dislocation of his spinal cord. When he arrived at the hospital, he was experiencing a near complete loss of sensation and motor control in his hands, arms and legs, according to doctors at the University of Miami medical school.

The prognosis wasn't good. With this type of injury, two of his vertebrae were dislocated and the spinal cord was being compressed by swelling. The spinal cord is a closed environment, so there is no room for swelling as there is in other injuries. Most patients won't walk again.


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