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Published on July 25, 2016

Robotic Legs Help Patients Learn to Walk Again

New Ekso GT technology now available at Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital

Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital - Ekso GT Wearable Exoskeleton

Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital now offers advanced robotic technology that provides patients with stroke and spinal cord injury the opportunity to stand up and relearn how to walk using the Ekso GT wearable robotic exoskeleton.

Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital recently acquired an Ekso and is the first facility between Los Angeles and the Bay Area with this technology. Originally designed for the military, the Ekso is currently the only exoskeleton cleared by the FDA for use with patients after stroke or spinal cord injury.

To walk in the Ekso, the patient is fully strapped into the suit while battery powered motors drive the hip and knee joints. Ekso adapts to the patients’ progress as they walk, and adjusts the amount of power to either side of their body to challenge them as they progress through rehabilitation. Patients who are unable to walk due to stroke or spinal cord injury, but who have the potential to walk, now have the help of the Ekso.

For 62-year-old Larry Bartley of Santa Barbara, Ekso has given him great hope that he will regain the ability to walk independently. Last April, Larry fell 30 feet from a tree in his backyard, resulting in partial paralysis of his entire body. When he entered Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, he was not able to walk.

Larry walked 100 steps during his first Ekso session. And after just seven sessions, he was able to walk more than 400 steps in the Ekso. During his final rehabilitation session in July, he walked more than 300 steps using only ankle braces and a walker.

“Ekso allows patients to get on their feet and start moving much sooner than was formerly possible.

This technology helps us reach patients we may not have been able to help before. We see patients benefit from this immediately as they stand up and walk. It’s a huge moment for everyone involved,” said Noah Gaines, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Neurologic Clinical Specialist at Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital.

Funding to purchase the Ekso was provided by Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation.

On September 26, 2016, the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation will host an event titled “Smart Spinal Cords: Learning to Move Again” and will feature V. Reggie Edgerton, a professor emeritus at the UCLA Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology and the Department of Neurobiology. Prior to the lecture there will be a demonstration of the Ekso.

HELP US OFFER HOPECottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation

Follow this link for information on how to donate to the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, or call 805-569-8999, Ext. 82143.

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Media and Public Relations Contact

Maria Zate, Manager of Public Relations

Phone: 805-879-8986

Email: mzate@sbch.org