Thanks to the Sutter Roseville Medical Center Foundation, therapists and patients at Sutter Rehabilitation Institute are utilizing new, state of the art technology to help patients walk again. Sutter Rehabilitation Institute is the first rehabilitation hospital in the area to obtain this new technology.
The Ekso NR can be used to address goals for walking as well as improve one’s ability to stand. It can help the patient initiate and complete a step, and it can also provide resistance to increase strength. Patients find that their ability to walk improves while using the Ekso NR, and continues to improve even when they are not wearing it.
Prior to obtaining the Ekso NR, this type of therapy required two therapists to help the patient move, which was exhausting for the patient as well as the therapists. Now, patients can get upright quicker and take more steps in much less time, promoting improved strength and mobility.
Ray Sullentrup is 40 years old, has two kids (a 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter) and loves to stay active by playing basketball, bike riding and running. These days, however, Ray has been forced to set aside the activities he enjoys so much due to an unfortunate development. A few years ago, he began to experience some very unusual things on the left side of his body.
“Out of nowhere, the coordination and strength on my left side began deteriorating,” said Ray. “We’d be out at birthday parties and friends would ask what was wrong. [I got] into my primary care, told them the symptoms and they immediately got me in for an MRI.”
His doctor found out that Ray had developed a cavernoma, which is a deformed blood vessel that had been slowly expanding over time and putting pressure on the part of the brain that controlled the left side of his body.
Surgery was required in order for the cavernoma to be removed, as well as a lengthy and challenging course of physical therapy at the Sutter Rehabilitation Institute at Sutter Roseville Medical Center to help Ray get back to moving the way he used to.
Part of Ray’s rehabilitation included the use of Ekso NR Robotic Exoskeleton, a robotic therapeutic walking device that helps survivors of stroke, spinal cord injury and other forms of lower extremity weakness to walk during therapy. The Ekso NR was made possible thanks to the generosity of donors in the Roseville community, and Ray was among the first patients to utilize its futuristic and technologically-advanced features to drastically improve his recovery of walking.
When asked what he’d most like to be able to do again, Ray immediately thought about his kids.
“My son just turned six and my daughter just turned three. Being able to kick a soccer ball, play catch, and ride bikes with them — I guess that’s what I’m looking forward to getting back to doing the most,” he said.