Drs. Ellen Maas

Organisation: Roessingh
Position: Rehabilitation physician

Arm/hand function in relation to level of cervical spinal cord injury

A cervical spinal cord injury has a major impact on all aspects of daily life. Limited arm and hand function due to a spinal cord injury increases dependence on caregivers and assistive devices in self-care and daily functioning. Depending on the level of the spinal cord injury the amount of muscles lost varies and thereby the level of independent functioning. Improving of arm and hand function is one of the highest priorities in people with cervical spinal cord injury, along with gaining more control over bladder and bowel function.

This presentation will discuss which muscle groups are absent depending on the level of spinal cord injury and what the consequences are for the level of functioning of the patient. It also will discuss the main treatment options, including technology, in the rehabilitation of the upper extremity in patients with spinal cord injury.


Ellen Maas studied medicine at Maastricht University, where she obtained her medical degree in 1999. From 2002 to 2006 she followed her training as a rehabilitation physician in Roessingh. During her training she has conducted research into complications and secondary consequences of the upper extremities in patients with a spinal cord injury. Since 2012, she has been working as a rehabilitation physician in the spinal cord injury department of Roessingh Center for Rehabilitation.