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 Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>