Spinal cord injury

EksoNR© is a robotic exoskeleton that supports patients recovering from spinal cord injury and allows them to work on regaining balance, coordination, and strength. It is the first and only wearable robotic exoskeleton to receive FDA clearance for brain injury, multiple sclerosis (MS), SCI, and stroke rehabilitation.

An exoskeleton designed to support patients and enhance recovery 

Our lower-extremity, wearable robotic exoskeleton is designed for adults 18 and over who have lost mobility or function. The device helps patients recover more completely and rehabilitate from SCI, ABI, MS, and stroke by leveraging brain plasticity and providing protective support. 

EksoNR supports upright posture while patients with SCI learn how to walk again. As patients learn, the exoskeleton provides assistance for those with complete and incomplete SCI (iSCI) allowing them to work their muscles without risk of injury while progressing through their recovery. Our exoskeleton is used by rehabilitation professionals in a clinical setting for acquired or traumatic brain injury rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation, recovery from a spinal cord injury and for therapeutic exercise for those with multiple sclerosis.

SCI includes damage to any part of the spinal cord or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. The injury results in a lack of neural communication between the brain and the body. The majority of people with SCIs, complete or incomplete, were injured in a traumatic way such as an automobile or motorcycle accident. Others are injured in a non-traumatic way, such as a tumor or infection. 

The spine sustains the injury through significant impact or laceration of the spinal cord. The injury causes the loss of neural communication between the brain and the spinal cord at the location of the injury. The patient then typically loses varying amounts of motor function and sensitivity below the spinal cord separation. 

EksoNR is cleared for brain injury, stroke, SCI, and MS rehabilitation

Spinal cord injury is classified as complete when all sensation and movement below the level of injury is lost. Incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) is the diagnosis given when some sensation and/or movement remain present. Depending on the location of the incident, a spinal cord injury can result in paraplegia or tetraplegia.

Patients with SCI exhibit a range of potential symptoms including:

  • Extreme pain in the neck, back, or head
  • Urinary or bowel urgency, retention, or incontinence
  • Abnormal band-like sensations in the thorax
  • Impaired breathing
  • Weakness or paralysis in upper and/or lower extremities

SCI creates significant deficits in a patient’s ability to independently complete their activities of daily living (ADLs) as well as the patient’s quality of life. Not only does a spinal cord injury limit mobility, the resulting lack of physical activity can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, respiratory issues, and diabetes. 

EksoNR is particularly appropriate for patients in rehabilitation for an incomplete spinal cord injury when the ability of the spinal cord to carry messages to or from the brain is not totally lost. The patient will retain some sensation or movement below the injury. Research on EksoNR shows that patients with iSCI often see gains in function, strength, endurance, and sensation after using EksoNR as part of their rehabilitation.

EksoNR can also be utilized by most patients who have a complete spinal cord injury. For these patients, typical therapy goals in EksoNR include learning to weight shift using upper extremities, increase standing tolerance, and improving non-motor outcomes such as bowel and bladder management. For patients with complete SCI, Ekso can be thought of as the most dynamic standing frame, providing all the benefits of standing in a more active and engaging environment.   

Use our exoskeleton for patients recovering from spinal cord injury

In EksoNR, the patient wears a backpack-like support which connects to robotic leg-support structures. It attaches comfortably to the waist, hips, legs, and feet, helping support the body and protect joints during preGait and gait training. Patients with SCI can work on essential skills, including: 

  • Orientation to the midline
  • Weight shifts
  • Step quality
  • Lower extremity muscle strength

Clinicians can access controls and EksoNR’s SmartAssist data-capture software to customize sessions to the patient’s needs in real-time. The exoskeleton provides progressive levels of support so the clinician can reduce the assistance the system offers patients as they improve and can even add resistance to one or both legs. 

Patients who use a wheelchair can use the exoskeleton to regain the ability to stand, retraining muscles to support body weight without strain. Therapists toggle between patient-initiated and therapist-initiated movement, tailoring rehabilitation to the patient. 

When can a patient use EksoNR robotic exoskeleton system?

EksoNR is appropriate for many people recovering from spinal cord injury, stroke, and brain injury at any stage of in-patient or outpatient rehabilitation, preferably as soon as possible after diagnosis. EksoNR can be used to help patients stand and take their first steps post-injury.  To see EksoNR’s full indications for use, please visit this page. 

This exoskeleton helps patients retrain brain and muscle function as they learn to walk again. It also can help fine-tune walking skills and help improve patients’ gait as they learn to regulate their movements. With this tool you can help patients regain as many lost abilities as possible. 

‌EksoNR is a rehabilitative device for patients with ABI, stroke, MS and SCI. Contact Ekso Bionics today to learn more about our robotic exoskeleton to improve your clinical rehabilitation practice.

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