back to top

Pioneering Surgery Allows Man Who Had His Spinal Nerves Severed In A Knife Attack To Walk Again

Darek Fidyka is the first person ever to recover from having his spinal cord sliced in half.

Posted on

A 38-year-old man from Bulgaria who was paralysed from the chest down following a knife attack is walking again thanks to pioneering surgery.

BBC / Via

Darek Fidyka had his spinal nerves completely severed after being repeatedly stabbed in the back in 2010.

Polish surgeons, led by Dr Pawel Tabakow from Wroclaw Medical University, used nerve-supporting cells from Fidyka's nose to help regrow the damaged tissue, Sky News reported.

He is the first person to recover from having their spinal nerves severed, and the British-funded surgery is seen as an important step in helping other people suffering from spinal cord injuries.

Fidyka can now walk with the help of a frame, and has recovered sensation in his lower limbs.

BBC / Via

Professor Geoffrey Raisman, from the University College London's institute of neurology, is quoted by The Guardian as saying: "We believe that this procedure is the breakthrough which, as it is further developed, will result in a historic change in the currently hopeless outlook for people disabled by spinal cord injury."

The patient is now able to move around the hips and on the left side he's experienced considerable recovery of the leg muscles.He can get around with a walker and he's been able to resume much of his original life, including driving a car.He's not dancing, but he's absolutely delighted.

Fidyka's story is featured in a Panorama programme on BBC One tonight.

View this video on YouTube

The research and procedure was documented in Cell Transplantation: The Regenerative Medicine Journal.

Richard James is the News Director for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.

Contact Richard James at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.