TIRR Memorial Hermann is a leader in research and technology to assist in our patient’s rehabilitation. We believe in giving our patients access to the latest technology and medical breakthroughs to provide them with the best care possible. Innovative technology can help speed up the recovery process, while providing physiological and psychological benefits to our patients. Our goal is to get our patients back to the life they love.
The ReWalk is an exciting piece of technology that entered the US market in 2014. It is the first and only FDA cleared exoskeleton for rehabilitation and personal use in the United States. TIRR Memorial Hermann was one of the first rehabilitation centers in the nation to have access to the ReWalk. This wearable technology allows individuals with lower-limb disabilities, to stand upright, walk and turn through battery powered hip and knee motion. The user initiates mobility in the ReWalk with a computer-based control system and motion sensors, as well as a lightweight brace support.
The ReWalk is a gait training technology intended for use by individuals who suffer from various lower-limb disabilities such as stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, paraplegia and more. It allows for controlled, independent walking and mimics the natural gait of an able-bodied individual. The ReWalk has been a game changing rehabilitation device, providing both physical and psychological benefits. The ReWalk not only gives our patients at TIRR Memorial Hermann the ability to exercise and walk around, but also the ability look someone in the eye or give a loved one a hug. These physical and psychological benefits allow for better pain management, fewer medications and potentially reduced hospitalizations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 795,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke each year and is a leading cause of serious long-term disability. TIRR Memorial Hermann, in conjunction with UTHealth Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, is one of just 12 hospitals in the United States and the only hospital in Texas participating in a national stroke trial by Nexstim.
Researchers are able to use a noninvasive device capable of mapping the human brain to deliver targeted magnetic stimulation to the brain that can suppress or enhance specific brain activity. They are then able to determine the therapeutic effects of the navigated magnetic pulses for stroke rehabilitation. Initial results suggest the navigated repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation coupled with occupational therapy is more likely to promote clinically important improvements in the patient than occupational therapy alone. These early results have opened the door to improving the quality of life for stroke survivors offering hope to thousands of people.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gerard Francisco along with Dr. Nuray Yozbatiran, researcher in the UTHealth Neuromodulation and Neural Interfaces Laboratory at TIRR Memorial Hermann’s NeuroRecovery Research Center are facilitating the stroke trial at TIRR Memorial Hermann.
The Ekso® is a user-friendly robotic exoskeleton that helps survivors of spinal cord injury and others with lower extremity weakness to regain walking function. The Ekso® provides over ground gait training, functional based rehabilitation, and upright, weight bearing exercise and is intended for use in a clinic setting under the supervision of a physical therapist. The current battery powered Ekso® model has 3 modes. The first mode, FirstStep™, allows the physical therapist to initiate the step for the user by pushing a button. The second mode, ActiveStep™, allows the user to trigger a step by pushing a button when they feel comfortable. In the final mode, ProStep™, the device can sense by the user’s gesturing when it should take a step for them. These modes allow the user not only to walk but also to re-learn gait patterns and weight shifts. This piece of rehabilitation technology gives individuals with complete paralysis and minimum forearm strength the opportunity to walk and feel freedom.
The GAITRite system records timing and distance parameters on a portable electronic walkway connected to a computer.
As a patient walks across the walkway, the system inputs data into the computer to document walking patterns, including both step time and step length. This captures abnormal walking patterns persons have adopted to compensate for muscle weakness, pain or limb shortening.
Patients using assistive devices and walking aides such as crutches, walkers or canes, use these during their gait analysis. Therapists can use this data to assist with interventions and treatment designed to improve balance and gait. The data also helps to show progress.
Patients with neurological movement disorders are benefiting from intensive robotic rehabilitation therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann Kirby Glen, using the Lokomat®, the world's first driven gait orthosis.
The Lokomat assists walking movements of gait-impaired patients and is used to improve mobility in individuals following conditions including:
The Lokomat is the first in Houston and only one of 100 in the entire world. It was provided for use at TIRR Memorial Hermann by a grant from the Medallion Foundation.
TIRR Memorial Hermann Kirby Glen is one of the only facilities in Texas that has the Pediatric Lokomat, which allows intensive locomotion therapy for small children with cerebral palsy or other neurological disorders.
The Broughton Foundation, the Wednesday Charity Club and other individuals donated the funds for this equipment.
The Pediatric Lokomat is the first driven automated gait orthosis for children, which relieves therapists of the manual labor required during manually-assisted treadmill training. Training sessions can be longer, the therapy is more efficient and it can be expected to achieve desired training goals sooner.
With the Pediatric Lokomat patients from approximately four years of age can be trained with the Lokomat if the gait orthosis can be adjusted adequately. The reduced size robotic gait orthosis offers the same benefits as the Lokomat for adults. Special harnesses and cuffs ensure precise fit for small children.
Initial experiences have indicated that children generally enjoy gait training with the Lokomat. If a child requires extra motivation, a cartoon can be played on the patient monitor.