Research & Education: Free Help for SCI Kids

Reprinted from PN July 2001
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Shriners Hospitals is improving the quality of life for children and adolescents with spinal-cord injury (SCI). Its Research Department has been using functional electrical stimulation (FES) in muscles paralyzed by SCI.

One of the first breakthrough surgeries performed at Shriners included the Freehand System, which allows some people with tetraplegia to regain use of paralyzed hands. Shriners Hospitals for Children, Philadelphia, was part of the FDA trials for the system.

In addition to FES surgery in the upper extremities, Shriners Hospital doctors implanted a system for lower extremities. This program allows some SCI patients to stand upright without a wheelchair.

This surgery performed at Shriners was the first time a fully implantable lower-extremity electrical system was placed in a child. Shriners has since completed another nine similar procedures.

The Philadelphia facility treats children and adolescents with SCI from all over the United States. It is one of three in the Shrine system that focuses on SCI and new technologies to increase independence. All rehabilitation therapy and surgeries are free of charge.

Shriners has been invited to participate in a premarket clinical trial of a totally implantable, 24-channel FES system for restoring stepping, standing, and bladder and bowel evacuation.

Contact: Shriners Hospitals for Children, 3551 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140-4131. (215) 430-4000.


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Research & Education: Free Help for SCI Kids


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