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Paraplegie article about tetrahand

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  1. 1. Praxis «Hands are some of the mostA handful of freedom fascinating phenomenon that exists»Suddenly raise your arm and grab something with force – the wish for many tetraplegics. Hopeless cases? No, that does not exist for in everyday life. Therefore, operations are Tendons and musclesThanks to surgery, it is now possible to awaken paralyzed hands to new life. the two doctors. «We can almost always offer usually performed at the earliest six months The surgical procedure is delicate: The sur- an improvement», says Simeon Grossmann. after hospital discharge. Professor Jan Fridén geons use intact, upper – or forearm muscles Before leaving the SPC after about nine says: «We ask the patients to present the five and their tendons to connect with certain months of rehabilitation, the patients meet most important abilities to regain after tendons of the hand. This effectively makesText: Christine Zwygart | Photos: Astrid Zimmermann-Boog, Walter Eggenberger again with the Tetrahand team to share in- surgery to make sure that the outcome of the muscle to perform new tasks e.g. so fin- formation. However, before an intervention the procedure will meet the needs of the gers, previously paralyzed, can move and flex is planned, patients need to gain experience patient.» and stretch again. We restore both closingA loved one to touch. A child to put to sleep. Or someone to welcome warmly.«The hands belong to an individual’s person- he is the professor of hand surgery and leader of the Swedish Center for tetraplegia hand surgery at University Hospital in Goth- The doctors in Jan Fridén, Bijan Cheikh-Sarraf and Simeon Grossman (left) inspect the hand of a patientality. They show emotions, can carress, but enburg. «It is a stroke of luck that we can with tetraplegia.also beat», says Jan Fridén, specialist in Tetra work together with him», says Grossmann.Hand Surgery. Eight fingers and two thumbs– together they assist us in communicating Strength and flexibilityand are indispensable helpers in so many Consultation in Nottwil. The two surgeons,performances in everyday life. By a spinal occupational and physical therapists andcord injury, can hands, arms and shoulders physicians from the Department of Ortho-be weak, stiff and numb. The higher up the pedic Surgery and Spinal Cord Injury par-spinal cord is damaged, the more serious are ticipate in the consultations. Today’s sched-the limitations. For those concerned, this uled patients represent different phases ofmeans losing some of their independence. the Tetrahand service: those who will soonSimple things – opening a bottle, reaching be operated on, others who have alreadyfor a book or putting on a sock – the spinal passed the biggest efforts and come for thecord injured persons have to cope with daily follow-ups. Also newly injured patientstasks that are difficult or even impossible to come to learn about possibilities of furtherperform. «With an operation we can now en- improvement.sure that certain functions of paralyzed A young man comes rolling in, he drives thehands can be restored», says Jan Fridén. To- wheels awkwardly with the heel of the hand.gether with physician colleague Simeon The doctors want to see whether the patientGrossmann in the Swiss Paraplegic Centre can move his joints better since the previous(SPC) in Nottwil, he can restore the hand test. «When intervention would be useful,function of the injured person and thereby those concerned should strengthen the ex-help to get a bit of freedom back. isting muscles and train the mobility of the210 consultations have been done by the two joints», says Jan Fridén. «If someone is notdoctors in the past year, and more than 30 willing to make this effort, there will be nosurgical procedures have been performed. operation.» Using simple exercises likeThis year the team expects an increase in stretch your arm, bend your thumb tests thetreatment because of the highly specialized patients’ mobility and strength is tested. Thearea is still under build-up in the SPC. Tetra- experts register exactly what is possible, howhand expert Jan Fridén has been working powerful the muscles work and what doesregularly here since January 2011. Otherwise, not work at all.22 | Paraplegie, März 2012 Paraplegie, März 2012 | 23
  2. 2. praxis Operation. 1  Grossmann, Fridén and Cheikh-Sarraf (from left) identify the right tendon to link to a new function. 2  Prior to surgery, the patient can only hold the pen using both hands. 3  After surgery: The fingers have power again and the writing works better.and opening of the hand in a single inter- with regard to patients from abroad (seevention – which is «quite unique in the box). Either way, the expert is convinced International Networkworld», says Jan Fridén. To adjust the length that the state can save money in the long The Tetrahand surgery is a medical field that has only about 80 doctors specializedand tension of tendons, the surgeon secures term: «In effect, patients will receive much worldwide. Therefore, the exchange of knowledge among them is of immensethe future position of the thumb and fingers more independency and require less assis- importance. «The procedures are delicate and have absolutely no margin for er- ror», says specialist Jan Fridén. Every three years, the experts meet at an internatio-precisely. To form an optimal gripping hand tance.» nal conference to share their experiences. In addition, an international Tetrahandthat opens and closes, custom solutions are Dressing, cooking, writing, driving a wheel- course is arranged annually and will take place this year in Nottwil from 9 to 12required. Sometimes the thumb must be chair forward, shake hands when greeting April 2012 in the Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC).stabilized, because it sticks out too little out someone – that’s usually possible for tetra- The SPC is one of the few clinics in Europe that offers a comprehensive Tetrahandof hand. «It’s a fascinating and responsible plegics after surgery. Or how Fridén puts it: surgery service. Therefore, patients come from abroad here to seek advice andtask to balance the function and position of «Hand control is one of the most sophisti- treatment. «We also open the center for so-called ‹Visiting Fellowships’, where we show our interested guest doctors our work. We want to expand this in the futu-the fingers and thumb again because the 1 cated and fascinating things that exists.» re», says Fridén. The Swede is actually one of the world’s only two professors in thenew hand function will serve the patient un- field of Tetrahand surgery. Together with physician colleague Simeon Grossmann,til the end of the patient’s life.» Fridén has he is building now a center of excellence at the SPC and would like to establish ainvested much time to perfect the process. European Society based in Nottwil. The aim of the European Society is to coordi-Thus, the specialist has developed his own nate the training and research and to create a network of doctors and therapists, «because it makes no sense to start all over again from scratch».technique, as he sews together two tendons:an overlap length of about five centimeterson both sides with cross-stitches, and sev- For more information, please visit:eral times all around. «So they can later w ww.tetrahand.comwithstand a load up to 25 kilograms.» Function before and after surgery can beIn addition to surgery of the hand, the sur- viewed at also restore the triceps and thus en-sure that a tetraplegic person can lift hisarm again. «This expands its action space.He can reach for something that is further 2 3away», says Jan Fridén. He speaks aboutstrong emotional moments, when a patientafter months and years for the first timehimself or herself can stretch out the arm Independence and mobility gery», says Jan Fridén. Totally understand-again. «It still touches me deeply every After surgery, patients must remain for re- able but also sad when you see the potential.time and I’m reminded of how important habilitation up to three months in the SPC. After the first difficult weeks, the functionsour job is.» «Mobility and independence are restricted and abilities will improve.This feeling of happiness is confirmed by in the first weeks after surgery», says Accident insurance usually pays for the sur-the young man who now visits the clinic.His arm is wrapped in thick splints and Simeon Grossmann. Therefore, those in- volved must instruct and guide the patient gery. The cost of the long rehabilitation and follow-ups, however, always lead to discus- Avantgardebandages, the procedure was a month ago– and his face shines. «Sensational! Before, carefully when the new features of the hands and arms are first trained. This time sions, because no one feels responsible for this important part of the treatment. «We © Ottobock · OK2583-M_CH_DE-01-1201 So individuell wie Sie!I had no control over my hand. And now it is for many people a big setback, to be way will have to develop a new model, so thatjust works. Chop, chop.» From his doctors from home, back in the hospital, and tem- the patient’s rehabilitation after a shorter Besuchen Sie unsere Webseite und erfahrenhe wants to know when he again could porarily more dependent than before. hospital stay is guaranteed at home with Sie mehr: www.ottobock.chchange from electric to manual wheelchair. «That’s the main reason why about 20 per- the help of assistance and trained thera-«Please, as soon as possible.» cent of our patients do not want the sur- pists», says Fridén. This applies particularly Wünschen Sie Unterlagen zum Avantgarde oder eine Adresse eines Fachhändlers in Ihrer Nähe? Rufen Sie uns an unter Tel. 041 455 61 71. · · T 041 455 61 7124 | Paraplegie, März 2012 OK2583_210x94,5-M_CH_DE-01-1201.indd 1 01.02.12 15:00