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Participants Needed for Research on Spinal Cord Injury

The Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine is home to Dr. Ida Fox who specializes in nerve transfer surgery. Nerve transfer surgery is a groundbreaking procedure that can be used to make muscles work again following cervical spinal cord injury.

Dr. Fox and her team are leaders in the development of innovative and effective surgical techniques to help restore hand function following a life altering and devastating cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). Improving hand function is often rated more important to patients than restoring other motor functions, such as walking. Dr. Fox has seen excellent clinical success thus far.

Due to the widespread international interest in nerve transfer surgery techniques, Dr. Fox has been frequently invited to lecture on the subject. In December 2014, Dr. Fox was the co-director of the Craig H Neilsen Nerve Transfer in Spinal Cord Injury Workshop to discuss this work and patient outcomes. In 2015, Dr. Fox led a workshop on nerve transfers at the 4th International Spinal Cord Society and American Spinal Injury Association Meeting. She also participated as an expert advisor in first of these surgeries performed in Canada, as well as being the invited lecturer on this subject at the University of Ottawa, the Craig Institute in Denver, and numerous other scientific and medical meetings.

Dr. Fox has received grant funding from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to further study and advance this surgical technique. Her research is focusing on patients between 18 and 60 years of age with spinal cord injury at the C6 or C7 level, who are interested in undergoing surgical treatment to improve their upper extremity function. Dr. Fox has also received grant funding from the Department of Defense to compare various treatments (nerve transfer, tendon transfer, and no surgery/therapy) to improve hand and arm function in cervical spinal cord injury. This study involves researches from ICORD (A Spinal Cord Injury Research Institute in Vancouver British Columbia), Stanford and the VA Healthcare System. Study participation will involve filling out questionnaires and participating in interviews over time.  There are no known benefits to participating, but the information will be used to make a decision aid. A decision aid provides individualized information that can help people who are considering surgical and non-surgical treatment. 

Of note, routine clinical evaluation, surgery and follow-up care are not considered research. Therefore your health plan/insurance company will be billed for some or all of these costs, and you will be responsible for any co-pays and deductibles that are normally required by your health plan/insurance.

If you are inquiring about making an appointment to be evaluated for nerve transfer surgery to restore hand function for a mid-cervical injury, please click this weblink for the New Patient Forms.