Barrow surgeons first to perform new
procedure for spinal cord injuries

Dr. Theodore in surgery at Barrow.Barrow neurosurgeons implanted the world’s first scaffolding device into the spinal cord of a patient.

The surgery involves inserting a bioresorbable scaffolding implant to bridge the gap of an injured section in an attempt to help the spinal cord heal. This first case is part of a pilot study to measure the clinical safety of the implanted device, which was developed by InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. If successful, the new technique could become a standard protocol in the treatment of acute spinal cord injury.

“This is a major milestone for spinal cord injury treatment, and we are elated to be the first hospital in the world to perform this innovative surgery,” said Nicholas Theodore, MD, chief of spinal surgery at Barrow and principal investigator of the study. “This could be the first step in identifying a new treatment to improve the overall recovery of individuals with acute spinal cord injury.”

The patient, Jordan Fallis, 25, will be closely monitored during recovery for changes or improvements to his spinal cord and mobility.

Fallis was injured in a dirt biking accident. He was airlifted to Barrow for emergency surgery performed by Dr. Theodore. After a week in ICU, Fallis was transferred to the hospital’s Bruce and Deborah Downey Neuro-Rehabilitation Center.

“I’m excited to be the first patient in this research study that may one day become the standard of spinal cord injury treatment,” said Fallis

To measure the safety of the device, the FDA has approved five individuals to undergo the procedure. Fallis will be monitored for three months before InVivo reopens enrollment. Other participants in the study are the University of North Carolina, the University of Arizona and the Washington University Medical Center. 


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