Barrow neurosurgeons implant the world’s first scaffold into a patient’s spinal cord


Neurosurgeons at Barrow Neurological Institute have implanted the world’s first scaffolding device into the spinal cord of a patient. Performed last month, the surgery involves inserting a bioresorbable scaffolding implant to act as a bridge across the gap of the injured section of the cord in an attempt to help the spinal cord heal.

This first case is part of a pilot study to measure the clinical safety of the implanted device developed by InVivo Therapeutics. “This could be the first step in identifying a new treatment option to improve the overall recovery of individuals with acute spinal cord injury,” says Nicholas Theodore, chief of spinal surgery at Barrow and principal investigator of the study.


Twenty-five-year-old Jordan Fallis, the first patient to have the scaffold implanted, will be closely monitored throughout his recovery to see if there are any changes or improvements to his spinal cord and mobility. A section of Fallis’ spinal cord was injured in a dirt biking accident and he was airlifted to Barrow which is located at Dignity Health St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery that evening. Fallis spent a week in the ICU before being transferred to the hospital’s Neuro Rehabilitation Center where he is currently undergoing intensive physical and occupational therapy.

“I’m excited to be the first patient in this research study that may one day become the standard of spinal cord injury treatment,” says Fallis.

To measure the safety of the device, the US Federal Drug Authority has approved five individuals in the USA to undergo the procedure. Fallis will be monitored for three months before InVivo reopens enrolment. In addition to Barrow, the University of North Carolina, the University of Arizona and the Washington University Medical Center are participants in the study.