Post TraumaTherapy Enhanced by Tutor System

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On September 15, 2011, Stacy Stark , an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the medical director of the Outpatient Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic and director of Education for the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Pennsylvania State University wrote for Medical Express.com,
“Imagine that you are driving home from work when you are involved in a head on collision with an SUV. Life Lion flies you to the hospital. When you awake in the Emergency Department, you notice that you cannot feel your legs. Your doctor tells you that you may not able to walk. You also eventually realize that you cannot urinate or defecate voluntarily.

This is an all too familiar scenario for many people within the United States. Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of spinal cord injury (SCI). Approximately, 10,000 people in the U.S. will suffer a new SCI this year, and approximately 250,000 people in the U.S. are living with SCI.

The most common level of tetraplegia (paralysis with all four extremities involved) is cervical level 5. This means you cannot move your hands, wrists, and legs and your sensation stops slightly below the nipple line, with no feeling below that. The most common level of paraplegia (paralysis with legs involved) is thoracic level 12. This means you cannot move your legs and your feeling stops at your waist, with no sensation below that.

When SCI is complete, you have no movement or feeling below the level of injury. However, many people do regain some movement and sensation after injury.

Approximately 80 percent of patients with complete injury have a chance of remaining complete at one year. Those with an initial certain incomplete injury with certain characteristics — sensation and or movement below the level of injury — have a variable recovery prognosis, sometimes with as high as a 90 percent chance of walking again following rehabilitation.

SCI has a long recovery. After the acute hospital stay, many patients enter acute inpatient rehabilitation during which patients still require medical care, but receive three hours of therapy every day, five days a week. This rehabilitation lasts for approximately four weeks. During this phase, the patient learns how to care for themselves, and the patient and family are educated about daily care and how to perform it, if applicable.

When at least partial sensation is present following a traumatic injury the Tutor system doesn’t take a back seat to any current physical therapy assistance available.

The newly developed HandTutor and its sister devices (ArmTutor, LegTutor, 3DTutor) have become a key system in neuromuscular rehabilitation and physical therapy. These innovative devices implement an impairment based program with augmented feedback and encourage motor learning through intensive active exercises. These exercises are challenging and motivating and allow for repetitive training tailored to the patient’s performance. The system also includes objective quantitative evaluations that provide the therapist information to customize the most suitable rehabilitation program to the patient’s ability. Currently part of the rehabilitation program of leading U.S. and foreign hospitals the Tutors are also used in clinics and at home through the use of telerehabilitation.

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