A Limassol-based medical centre has acquired the first robotic exoskeleton in Cyprus, marking a significant step forward in the country’s rehabilitation sector.

Melanthron Agoniston Eoka has made an investment exceeding €200,000 for an EksoNR, a robotic exoskeleton designed to provide support to people who have difficulty walking due to neurological conditions or injuries. Half of the cost, €100,000, was covered by the health ministry through a medical equipment subsidy scheme.

During the unveiling ceremony of the new equipment on Thursday morning, the President of the Board of Directors of the Melanthron Agoniston Eoka, Antonis Charalambous, assured that the medical centre “will continue to evolve and offer high-quality services, contributing to the enhancement of the rehabilitation sector in Cyprus.”

The centre’s scientific director, Professor of Neurology Georgios Kaponides, stated that robotic exoskeletons represent the latest technological advancement aimed at restoring walking ability in patients with stroke, traumatic brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries.

EksoNR helps patients bear only their own weight while assisting with postural alignment through the trunk enabling healthcare providers to treat patients through the continuum of care. According to their official website, EksoNR is the only exoskeleton FDA-cleared for ABI and MS, in addition to stroke and SCI. It was designed to be a rehab tool for physical therapists to challenge their patients, requiring active participation known to drive brain plasticity.

However, not all patients are suitable candidates for the use of robotic exoskeletons, as specific criteria must be met. Kaponides clarified that the particular model accommodates patients up to 1.95 meters in height and weighing up to 100 kilogrammes.

This groundbreaking technology is being used for the first time in Cyprus, while there are approximately 256 similar exoskeletons in Europe and four in Greece, the scientific director added.

Chief Medical Officer and Inspector of Private Hospitals Dr Stavros Stavrou expressed the health ministry’s satisfaction with the collaboration with the Rehabilitation Centre in acquiring the robotic exoskeleton.

“With the addition of this robotic system … we are confident that the challenging task of helping patients with severe musculoskeletal and neurological problems is significantly facilitated, contributing substantially to the improvement of patients’ walking and balance,” he noted.

During the press conference, a patient with multiple sclerosis demonstrated the capabilities of the robotic exoskeleton, with further insights provided by Dr Konstantinos Tzitzikosta, a physiatrist and rehabilitation physician.