Applications, effectiveness and limitations of robotic physiotherapy in patients with spinal cord injury

  • O. Siakis
  • S. Pneumaticos
Keywords: Spinal cord injury, Robotic, Rehabilitationw


Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a particularly serious pathological condition which puts a great strain on the health and functional status of the affected patient, while at the same time is accompanied by a very high morbidity and mortality rate. Among the various rehabilitation methods that have been used for the treatment of SCIs, since the 1990’s, robotic physiotherapy has been an innovative alternative option. Robotic physiotherapy involves the application of a series of robotic devices the use of which is intended to assist and enhance the level of a number of the patient’s functions that have been severely affected form the SCI, including their motor and sensory performance. This paper will attempt a brief narrative review of the literature in relation to the most recent research data regarding the applications, the effectiveness and the limitations of the use of robotic physiotherapy in patients suffering from spinal cord injury.

A total of 73 published papers since 2010 were isolated and studied, including 49 original research studies and 24 reviews / systematic reviews / meta-analyses. The main conclusion of the review is that with the use of these devices, patients with SCI have the possibility of a satisfactory level of safe walking, combined with the improvement of their activities of daily living and their quality of living. Ongoing research in this field will most probably enable the further improvement of the applications of the method in the coming years.


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Author Biographies

O. Siakis

Postgraduate Training Program, 3rd Department of Orthopaedic Surgery,

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, KAT General Hospital of Athens, Greece.

S. Pneumaticos

1Postgraduate Training Program, 3rd Department of Orthopaedic Surgery,

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, KAT General Hospital of Athens, Greece.

3rd Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, KAT Hospital, Athens, Greece.


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