MossRehab, a leading rehabilitation center, is the first ever in the U.S. to offer the ReWalk™–I, an institutional version of the ReWalk device. ReWalk is the only FDA-approved motorized exoskeleton for use in a medically-supervised rehabilitative setting. The new version, the ReWalk–I, will allow patients with spinal cord injuries and lower-body paralysis to participate in gait training. The ReWalk–I may also be used in “rewalking” therapy, which involves training a patient on how to use the device.
The ReWalk–I is an ergonomic brace-support suit that a user wears around his back and legs and fits snugly on his body atop his clothes. It has motorized knee and hip joints, a patient-controlled computer-based control system, rechargeable batteries, and sensors. Use of the forearm crutches help stabilize the user while he is walking and standing, and he can use simple body movements to control and initiate movements for walking.
MossRehab was chosen for the US clinical trial site because of its worldwide reputation for research programs and clinical rehabilitation. Clinical trials to determine the efficacy, safety, and user satisfaction for the ReWalk–I concluded in August. The trials paved the way for the next stage in ReWalk’s evolution, much to the benefit of many patients.
“This is a historic moment,” says Amit Goffer, PhD, founder of the Isreali company Argo Medical Technologies Ltd., who developed of the ReWalk device. “For more than 2,000 years, the wheelchair has been the only mobility solution offered to patients with paralysis below the waist, and now at MossRehab, the dream of walking again is becoming a reality for them.”
Alberto Esquenazi, MD, Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at MossRehab, led the ReWalk–I clinical trials and was instrumental in its development. “Even though there isn’t scientific proof yet, research subjects in the trials have reported reduction in spasticity, reduction in pain, improved cardiopulmonary fitness, and improvement in bladder and bowel management,” he said. “We are thrilled to be the first institution in the country to offer this revolutionary therapy to help improve the health and well-being of people with paraplegia.”
MossRehab’s Outpatient Center in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania started offering ReWalking in August 2011. Interested patients can consult with the facility’s board-certified rehabilitation specialists in spinal cord injury to determine if they are viable candidates for the therapy. The facility also has physical therapists who are trained to supervise and work with ReWalk patients. ReWalking therapy is covered by most insurance plans as part of physical therapy. The duration and frequency of treatment is based on a patient’s tolerance level, his progress and his medical need.
The ReWalk–I will initially only be available to patients with spinal cord injuries below T6 level (below-the-waist) who do not have: back instability, severe spasticity, significant joint deformities, pressure sores or unhealed fractures. A patient must have a recent DEXA bone density measurement scan, a ReWalk therapy prescription, and a recent evaluation by a rehabilitation physician who can certify that the patient can safely stand.
Interested individuals can contact MossRehab’s Outpatient Center at 215-663-6354 or 1-800-CALL MOSS, or visit their site at www.mossrehab.com for more information.
See the original AMS Vans Blog story about the ReWalk device here: All You Need to Know About ReWalk, the Robotic Exoskeleton
Or watch the video below from MossRehab about their work with the ReWalk™–I: