Scientists are testing a new treatment for rehabilitating soldiers injured in combat using one of the more unconventional parts of a pig’s anatomy.
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center implanted thin sheets of scaffolding-like material from pig bladders into a few men with disabling leg injuries.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE to hear from an injured soldier enrolled in a trial and how the process works.
The study is funded by the Department of Defense.
Three of the five patients in the study are military veterans.
All of the men had lost between 60 to 90 percent of one of their leg muscles.
It first took a few months of customized physical therapy. Then he men received the implants followed by more physical therapy.
Six months later, biopsies and scans showed some new muscle grew in all the men.
Three of the patients are officially deemed a success because their legs were stronger by 20 percent or more after the surgery.
They showed dramatic improvements in tests and could hop or even squat on the injured leg. The other men showed improvements in balance and quality of life but not enough to meet the study's definition of success.
Doctors there believe the technique will probably work better after recent injuries.