Three paraplegics manage to walk again thanks to spinal cord neurostimulation.

Three paraplegics move their trunk and legs again thanks to Spinal Cord Neurostimulation.

Thanks to specific stimulation of the spinal cord, several patients are able to walk again after years of complete paralysis.

The new study with a neurostimulation device, led by the bioengineer Grégoire Courtine, from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL) and his colleague, the neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch from the University Hospital of Lausanne, has managed to perfect the neuromodulatory technique, achieving that three patients with serious injuries (complete sensory and motor paralysis) can return to complex activities such as walking or swimming.

These clinical results were presented yesterday in the journal Nature Medicine, this finding may remind us of the previous study that was carried out in 2018 with three spinal cord injuries (these with partial injury) who also managed to walk again thanks to the epidural electrical stimulation device developed by a team of Russian engineers and neurosurgeons.

Bloch explains that this was a proof of concept for the viability of spinal cord stimulation in this type of pathology.

“For the first time we have used a new technology specifically designed to be able to precisely modulate all regions of the spinal cord”

Courtain for his part says “previously we used stimulation techniques that had already been used for pain relief and that we repositioned for spinal cord injury, now for the first time we have used a new technology specifically designed to be able to precisely modulate all regions of the spinal cord to achieve activation of the patient’s trunk and leg muscles.

Our stimulation algorithms are based on an imitation of nature and with our new implanted (soft) leads designed to be placed under the vertebrae, above the spinal cord we can modulate the neurons that regulate specific muscle groups.”

This device is combined with personalized software to more precisely place the electrodes and create different stimulation programs.


We have managed to control trunk movements in three individuals with chronic complete spinal cord injury in a single day.


Although all three were able to get up immediately after implantation (with the help of a harness), only with training was an increasingly fluid movement achieved until they were able to walk.

The device is completed with a kind of pacemaker that transmits signals to the implant connected to the spinal cord in order to stimulate specific groups of neurons.

This study continues thanks to the collaboration of BIOTÉCNOLOGICA ONWARD MEDICAL and will continue to be perfected in order to improve the lives of thousands of people around the world in the future.


Some spinal cord injuries should no longer be considered irreversible

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