In this health video learn how new research indicates that earlier is better when it comes to surgery for spinal cord injuries.
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Jeniffer Mathews: For Bruce Brady, days like these are nothing short of a miracle. Last March, he nearly died when he skied into a cedar fence. For Bruce Brady: At that point there, I could not feel anything. I couldn't move my head, I could not wiggle my toes, wiggle my fingers. Jeniffer Mathews: Bruce was paralyzed from the neck down. For Bruce Brady: I couldn't feel anything, anywhere. Jeniffer Mathews: Neurosurgeon Michael Fehlings says the initial impact doesn't cause all the damage in spinal cord injuries. There are also secondary injuries that come from inflammation and compression on the spine. Michael Fehlings: This involves the death of nerve cells that might otherwise be initially potentially alive or salvageable after the initial injury. Jeniffer Mathews: Surgery is often done to fix the spine and relieve pressure. Doctor Fehlings is leading a study to find the best time to do that surgery. Michael Fehlings: It appears that earlier is indeed better than later Jeniffer Mathews: One study shows the most common time for surgery is five days or more after an injury. But Doctor Fehlings' research shows surgery within 24 hours can prevent more serious damage and lead to better outcomes. Michael Fehlings: We are seeing that some people are walking away from injuries where they would normally not be able to walk away. Jeniffer Mathews: Bruce had surgery within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital. Today, he's active, with a new perspective. Bruce Brady: I would look my life little bit humbled that is for sure Jeniffer Mathews: He hopes in the future, more people with injuries will be able to walk in his footsteps. This is Jeniffer Mathews reporting.