Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

Section Head – Oksana Volshteyn, M.D.

Spinal Cord Injury is a major life-changing event. Whether spinal cord injury is caused by trauma, infection, neoplasm, vascular, degenerative disorder, or surgical complications, it can result in a catastrophic consequences leading to major physical and psycho-social impairments that drastically alter the life of patients and their families.

The Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Program provides a comprehensive multidisciplinary spectrum of the specialized rehabilitation services for patients with traumatic and non-traumatic injury to the spinal cord.

The primary clinical mission of the program is to facilitate neurological recovery, optimize level of functional independence in the areas of self-care, activities of daily living and mobility and make a significant impact on patient’s ability to return to a full and active life.
Program provides a full complement of medical and rehabilitative services to include initial consultation, inpatient and outpatient medical management and rehabilitation, and lifelong follow-up care.

Care for the spinal cord patients is complex and requires an integration of many medical services and experts in the field. Our program is based on the network of resources available through Washington University, The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Children’s Hospital. There is a close collaboration of SCI program with trauma, orthopedics, neurosurgery and urology physicians and services.

Consultation Service is provided by highly experienced physiatrists to assist in acute management and prevention of SCI complications, to determine patient readiness for rehabilitation, as well as to facilitate timely transfer to the rehabilitation facility.

Medical care is offered through the Adult and PediatricSCI Rehabilitation Continuity Clinics. These clinics provide a comprehensive care not only for the acute issues as related to SCI, but also focus on long term health maintenance and education to reduce a potential for complications.

Spasticity Clinic offers multidisciplinary assessment and management of the muscle spasticity. Patients are carefully evaluated for the appropriateness for the Botulinum toxin treatments and Intrathecal Baclofen therapy.

In addition to primary clinical services, Spinal Cord Injury program is a training base for physiatry and neurology residents, medical students and allied health care professionals such as nurses, physical and occupational therapists.

Inpatient and Outpatient SCI Rehabilitation is provided on the Spinal Cord Unit at The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis.

A team of physiatrists with special training in the management of spinal cord injury, and a team of dedicated rehabilitation professionals with the expertise in all aspects of rehabilitative care of patients with SCI, create an individualized program for all patients and their families. Neuropsychological services are an integral part of the program as well.

The unique component of the SCI rehabilitation program is the Aggressive Physical Rehabilitation. This program is based on a concept that intense physical rehabilitation helps to expedite the restoration of significant function. The program offers activity-based rehabilitation which utilizes functional electrical stimulation in conjunction with bicycle- ergometer, biofeedback, body-weight supported ambulation, AutoAmbulator and progressive gait training with advanced orthotic devices. Aquatic therapy is available as well.

Wheelchair Seating Clinic offers multidisciplinary assessment for the patients with complex seating needs.

Peer Counseling and Support Groups offer the opportunity to discuss challenges and develop coping strategies for the SCI patients and their families.

Faculty in Spinal Cord Section:

Oksana Volshteyn, MD

Rimma Ruvinskaya, MD

Neringa Juknis, MD