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Being the victim of an accident from a medical condition that may lead to the full paralysis is often a life-changing event. According to a 2009 study, there may be over five million U.S. residents who are living with some form of paralysis. While treatment options for patients who have a loss of sensation or movement are subject to limitations of current technology, recent and future medical innovations, promise a broad range of new treatments that may be just over the horizon.
Flexible Spinal Implants
Accidents that result in spinal trauma is one of the most common causes of paralysis. While any degree of injury to the spine is potentially serious, the trauma that is severe enough to cause nerve damage can easily result in paralysis of the lower extremities. While spinal implants may be used to alleviate pressure that may be placed on nerves due to a past injury, the current generation of implants has severe limitations due to their rigid design. New materials, implant designs and manufacturing methods may soon provide a more flexible type of implant, one which may be able to benefit patients through their ability to more effectively mimic the range of motion and inherent flexibility of an uninjured spine.
The permanent nature of the spinal injury or other condition that may produce nerve damage and paralysis is due to the body’s inability to regrow damaged nerve cells. Stem cells which have the capacity to turn into other types of cells and tissues within the body may open the door to a wide range of new treatment options, methods, and procedures. Being able to regrow or replace nerves that have been damaged or destroyed may one day allow those who have paralysis to enjoy a far more complete recovery. The ability to regrow or repair damaged nerve tissue may prove to be the key innovation behind an entirely new branch of medicine.
Next-generation Surgical Procedures
Surgical interventions are often of critical importance when it comes to treating or preventing paralysis that stems from a traumatic injury. New technologies, such as utilizing robots to assist or even perform surgeries or using augmented-reality technology to provide surgeons with the ability to visualize various aspects of surgery in a whole new way may have much to offer. More efficient surgical procedures may be able to substantially reduce instances of paralysis that occur due to trauma as well as ensure that wider range of injuries can be treated and addressed.
General Improvements to Patient Care
Not every technological advance in the treatment of paralysis will take the form of direct patient care. Resources, such as PACS Radiology systems, can provide practitioners with the means to share and access patient date in a more secure manner and ensure that potential problems that may be caused by a lack of information or poor communication are less likely to occur. Improvements in the administrative processes that medical professionals rely upon can be just as important as technological advances that may benefit the diagnostic, rehabilitation or surgical aspects of treatment. Ensuring that all care providers, facilities, and professionals involved in caring for a patient can utilize the most accurate and up to date information is not a concern that should go overlooked.
Future Innovations May Have Much to Offer
From ensuring that a wider range of conditions and injuries can be effectively treated to the technological innovation that may allow those who currently have preferment paralysis to one day walk or regain the full use of their extremities, future treatments show lots of promise. Continued advancement within the medical field may produce even more significant innovations than those that are currently on the horizon. Future innovation may even be able to offer a cure, one that will make permanent paralysis a thing of the past.