Introduction: Thanks to the Internet, we can now have access to more information about spinal cord repair. Spinal cord injured (SCI) patients request more information and hospitals offer specific spinal cord repair medical consultations.
Objective: Provide practical and relevant elements to physicians and other healthcare professionals involved in the care of SCI patients in order to provide adequate answers to their questions.
Method: Our literature review was based on English and French publications indexed in PubMed and the main Internet websites dedicated to spinal cord repair.
Results: A wide array of research possibilities including notions of anatomy, physiology, biology, anatomopathology and spinal cord imaging is available for the global care of the SCI patient. Prevention and repair strategies (regeneration, transplant, stem cells, gene therapy, biomaterials, using sublesional uninjured spinal tissue, electrical stimulation, brain/computer interface, etc.) for the injured spinal cord are under development. It is necessary to detail the studies conducted and define the limits of these new strategies and benchmark them to the realistic medical and rehabilitation care available to these patients.
Conclusion: Research is quickly progressing and clinical trials will be developed in the near future. They will have to answer to strict methodological and ethical guidelines. They will first be designed for a small number of patients. The results will probably be fragmented and progress will be made through different successive steps.