The Injured Spinal Cord Pressure Evaluation procedure (ISCoPE), developed by neuroscientists at St George’s, University of London, is carried out as an emergency procedure during the repair of the damaged vertebrae.
First, two fine ‘spinal tap’ probes are inserted into the site of the injury. One monitors the pressure of fluid in the spinal cord. The other allows a tiny amount of fluid to be pumped out of the spine where it is analysed for chemicals that indicate whether nerve cells are dying. If the pressure in the cord is too high, drugs can be taken to allow more blood to flow into the injury site, helping keep nerve cells alive.