Dual Tibial Fractures Linked to Powered Exoskeleton in Complete Spinal Cord Injury

Spine Injury

In a recent incident at an undisclosed location, a 54-year-old man sustained bilateral tibial fractures during a physiotherapy session utilizing a powered robotic exoskeleton (PRE). The patient, who has a background of T10 AIS A spinal cord injury (SCI), experienced acute severe bilateral knee swelling after roughly 15 minutes of using the PRE. Following the injury, the man sought treatment at a local hospital the next day, where X-rays confirmed the fractures.

Medical intervention for the fractures involved manipulation under anesthesia and the application of long-leg casts for a period of five weeks. After the initial treatment phase, the patient was provided with hinged knee braces and instructed to remain non-weight bearing for a total of 12 weeks. During investigation of his condition, the patient was diagnosed with osteoporosis via a DEXA scan and subsequently commenced on bone protection with rheumatology services.

Although the fractures healed and the patient had his weight-bearing precautions lifted, the long period of immobilization resulted in significant spasticity. The patient was eventually discharged from orthopedic services and continued his recovery with ongoing rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

While PRE-assisted physiotherapy programs show promise for rehabilitation and fostering independence in patients with reduced mobility, this case illustrates the potential risks involved.

Source: Nature.com

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