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Spinal Cord Injury

Early intervention and appropriate treatment are critical in the event of an acute spinal cord injury; they may determine whether a person will walk again. 

From emergency surgery to rehabilitation to a lifetime of follow-up care, Jefferson represents the best in care for spinal cord injuries.

We treat about 1,000 patients with spinal cord injuries every year, many requiring complex and delicate surgeries. Our reputation for excellence means that many patients are transferred here from other medical facilities.

Recognized as One of the Nation's 14 Model Spinal Cord Injury Centers

The Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley is designated as one of the nation's 14 Model Spinal Cord Injury Centers by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), and the only one in the Delaware Valley. Jefferson and Magee Rehabilitation Hospital are also one of the seven designated rehabilitation centers of the Christopher Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network (NRN).

The Centers provide Locomotor Training (LT) in which therapists simulate walking for paralyzed patients in an effort to awaken dormant nerve cells.

Jefferson is also the first hospital in Pennsylvania to offer the NeuRx DPS™, an implantable FDA-approved device that helps individuals with certain types of spinal cord injuries breathe on their own again.

Advanced Evaluation and Surgery for Spinal Cord Injury

When a spinal trauma patient is admitted to our Level I Trauma Center, our Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) team immediately directs time-dependent efforts to stabilize and reverse any neurologic injuries.

Once the patient is admitted to Jefferson's Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit, the multidisciplinary medical team uses advanced evaluation and diagnostics to identify the location and extent of the damage and determine the best treatment protocol. Complex spinal surgical procedures may be performed to realign a "broken" spine and provide the spinal cord with the optimal environment to regenerate.

Acute Patient Rehabilitation for Spinal Cord Injury

As progress allows, the patient is moved to acute rehabilitation. The SCI team at Jefferson is consistently chosen as one of less than 10 international sites to direct delicate SCI investigational therapies, including an FDA-recognized stem cell therapy program.

Acute patient rehabilitation includes intensive sessions with physical and occupational therapists, social workers, case managers, psychologists and patient/family educators, who prepare the entire family for the significant emotional and physical adjustments that accompany spinal cord injury.

Lifetime follow-up care is available, if necessary. The Center has a notably low level of severe secondary complications and a mortality rate of five percent with acute spinal trauma patients well below national averages.