I shudder at the thought of anything to do with spinal injuries. I have a member of my family with fused spine and it is not an easy thing to live with, not at all. If someone receives an injury to their spinal cord, the last thing they want to hear is, “You will never walk again.”
That phrase may be spoken less often, well, in the US anyway. The ReWalk bionic suit is an assistive exoskeleton that is designed to give people with spinal cord injuries the ability to help them walk. The US Food and Drug Administration have just approved the device for sale.
FDA Office of Device Evaluation director Christy Foreman said in a statement, “Innovative devices such as ReWalk go a long way towards helping individuals with spinal cord injuries gain some mobility…Along with physical therapy, training and assistance from a caregiver, these individuals may be able to use these devices to walk again in their homes and in their
The user wears a motorized brace, which is controlled with motion sensors. An Israeli, Amit Goffer, who became paralyzed following an ATV accident, invented the system in 1997.
The ReWalk system will not work for all types of spinal injury; the person needs to use their hands and shoulders. A significant portion of the 200,000 people in the U.S. with spinal injuries would be able to use the system. But what about the cost of the device and medical insurance?
The price of the ReWalk system is quite steep; the retail cost will be $69,500. The company who makes ReWalk is trying to come to an agreement with insurance companies. “ReWalk is working with insurers and other health care coverage providers to ensure individuals eligible to use the ReWalk are able to purchase a system,” a spokesperson said.
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