Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hand surgery enhances life quality for those with spinal cord injuries

25.03.2013
Reconstructive hand surgery can dramatically enhance the life quality and independence of those paralysed by a cervical spinal cord injury.

Despite this, the operation is not frequently performed, either in Sweden or elsewhere. Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden are now hoping to change that.


Photo shows a patients grip before surgery.
Photo: The University of Gothenburg


Photo shows a patients grip after surgery.
Photo: The University of Gothenburg

A cervical spinal cord injury entails paralysis in both arms and legs, severely limiting daily life for its victims. Previous studies have shown that the capability that those with cervical spinal cord injuries most wish to recover is a functioning hand.

At the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, since the 1970’s, it has been possible to improve the gripping ability for these individuals by surgical means, and at present an estimated 40 per cent of all spinal cord injury patients in Sweden undergo this operation.

The PhD student Johanna Wangdell, who also works as an occupational therapist, has in the course of her thesis interviewed (all those) patients who have had their hand function reconstructed at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital since 2003.

The thesis shows that this hand surgery, in a dramatic way, enhances the life quality of those with spinal cord injuries:

“The surgery doesn’t only deliver a physical benefit in the form of increased gripping strength. The ability to eat independently, to carry out household chores and leisure activities offers mental rewards which benefit our social life, our daily habits and the roles we perform. Knowing that you can handle things yourself, of getting back your private life and restoring your identity as active parent, for example, or the guy that can go along for a beer with his mates is, in many cases, invaluable,” says Johanna Wangdell.

Besides the individual progress this represents, reconstructive hand surgery also means that the requirement for personal assistance and specially adapted housing can be reduced and this can deliver savings for society as a whole.

Despite this, the hand surgery is performed only to a very modest extent outside Sweden: whereas four out of ten victims of spinal cord injuries are operated in Sweden only one out of ten undergo the surgery in the USA.

“Few clinics in the world undertake as many operations per year of this type as the Sahlgrenska University Hospital. This means that victims of spinal cord injuries from across Europe come to the hospital for this surgery,” explains Johanna Wangdell.

“This is the first study that focuses on the patient viewpoint and we can demonstrate that those who undergo this surgery experience a really high level of satisfaction. I hope that my studies will contribute to the surgery becoming available much more widely, both in Sweden and the rest of the world.”

Contact:

Johanna Wangdell,

PhD Student at the Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy at The University of Gothenburg, and registered Occupational Therapist at the Department of Hand Surgery / Spinal Cord Injury Unit, Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Tel: + 46 31-342 92 65
Mobile: +46 702-99 21 12

johanna.wangdell@vgregion.se

Annika Koldenius | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://www.sahlgrenska.gu.se/english/news_and_events/news/News_Detail//hand-surgery-enhances-life-quality-for-those-with-spinal-cord-in

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht FAU researchers demonstrate that an oxygen sensor in the body reduces inflammation
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>