Swortec’s new devices give disabled patients greater muscular control
Swortec is on a mission to combine several rehabilitation techniques such as mobilisation, electro-stimulation and load-resistance exercise into a single device. The company, founded at Monthey in the Valais region in 2006, has developed two medical breakthroughs: MotionMaker™, a stationary device that helps disabled patients relearn to control their lower limbs, and WalkTrainer™, a mobile apparatus for learning how to walk again.
“With our devices, muscular electro-stimulation occurs only when needed for carrying out a particular exercise. That’s one of our main innovations,” says Ismaël Perrin, technical manager at Swortec. The preliminary results of the clinical studies carried out with Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) are already very encouraging. “We saw definite improvement in patients’ ability to control their lower limbs,” adds Ismaël Perrin. “Guided by the stimulations, the patients said they better understood how to use their muscles.”
Swortec has produced eight MotionMakers to date. Its clients include Swiss institutions, such as the Rehabilitation Clinic of French-speaking Switzerland (SUVA) and the Swiss Paraplegic Centre (CSP) in Nottwil, and foreign medical facilities. So far, over a hundred patients have used the company’s equipment.
Our devices allow patients to begin a controlled physical activity four to six weeks after an accident.
“Our devices allow patients to begin a controlled physical activity four to six weeks after an accident,” says Ismaël Perrin. He recommends about three individual sessions per week for three to five months at least. What’s surprising is that, while the devices were initially designed for incomplete paraplegics, they are now used to treat complete paraplegics, quadriplegics and patients with cerebral palsy. The goal is not only to teach patients to walk again, but also to reduce the side effects of long-term immobility.
“With our devices, muscular electro-stimulation occurs only when needed for carrying out a particular exercise. That’s one of our main innovations,” says Ismaël Perrin, technical manager at Swortec.