New Robot-Assisted Pediatric Gait Therapy Creates Big Strides From Small Steps
Rusk Introduces First Lokomat® System in Tri-state to Improve Therapeutic Outcomes for Children
The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center (Rusk) is the first hospital in the tri-state area to offer the Lokomat® robot-assisted walking therapy system for its pediatric patients. The Lokomat uses a mechanized, supportive exoskeleton, treadmill and computer programming to improve the results of gait-therapy for children lacking voluntary control of their lower body as a result of spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis and neurological disorders like cerebral palsy.
“This system provides lifting support and fine gait-control and allows our therapy teams to maximize a child’s progression through range of motion, muscle strengthening, cardiovascular conditioning and gait training therapies and – as importantly – help them increase their sense of accomplishment and well-being,” said John Corcoran, PT, DPT, MS, clinical assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine and director of inpatient therapy services at Rusk. “We are excited to offer our pediatric patients the opportunity to benefit from this advanced technology.”
Research shows that the injured brain has a tremendous ability to create new pathways to enable motor function through intensive, repetitive movement. The Lokomat provides the mechanical support and controlled motion to move a child’s limbs in a predetermined manner – mimicking a normal gait. Traditionally this required a therapist or therapists to physically lift a patient while maintaining consistency of gait during a session.
“It is particularly important for children with a congenital disorder or who were injured at a very young age to have this assistance because children typically have not learned or establish proper and efficient gait patterns,” said Renat Sukhov, MD, clinical associate professor of rehabilitation medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. “The computer graphic interface translates a child’s motions to an avatar on the screen that not only provides visual cues for the children about their gait – but also motivates, encourages progression and even makes the therapy fun.”
The same software that controls the gait motion will also allow researchers at Rusk to generate and collect comprehensive motion analysis and gait data from the Lokomat to create studies that advance pediatric rehabilitation treatment and care.
The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center has been ranked the best facility in New York for rehabilitation medicine in New York and among the top ten in the country since 1989, when U.S. News & World Report introduced its annual “Best Hospitals” rankings. Rusk was the world’s first university-affiliated facility devoted entirely to rehabilitation medicine and remains home to innovations and advances that have set the standard for rehabilitation care for every stage of life and for every phase of recovery. You can learn more about Rusk at http://rusk.med.nyu.edu/.
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