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Image: Recovery via Shutterstock

Paralysed man walks again following groundbreaking surgery

The surgery is being hailed as an “historic change” for those with spinal injuries.
Oct 21st 2014, 8:53 AM 14,033 17

A BULGARIAN MAN who was completely paralysed from the waist down can walk again following pioneering surgery.

Darek Fidyka is believed to be the first person to ever recover from the severing of the spinal nerves and has resumed an independent life, going so far as to drive a car.

Surgeons in Poland used nerve cells from Fidyka’s nose to create pathways in his spine, allowing broken tissue to recover.

Professor Geoffrey Raisman, whose team at University College London’s institute of neurology discovered the technique, told The Guardian:

“We believe that this procedure is the breakthrough which, as it is further developed, will result in a historic change in the currently hopeless outlook for people disabled by spinal cord injury.”

The cells used repair damaged smell receptors in the brain. When placed in the spine, they fuse nerve fibres back together – something that was previously thought impossible.

The research is funded by the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF) and UK Stem Cell Foundation and features on BBC’s Panorama tonight.

Read: “Your next adventure is this”: The incredible Mark Pollock story to hit big screen

Read: Three quarters of people with spinal injuries in Ireland are unemployed

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Paul Hosford

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