ReportsNEUROPROSTHETICS

An osseointegrated human-machine gateway for long-term sensory feedback and motor control of artificial limbs

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Science Translational Medicine  08 Oct 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 257, pp. 257re6
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008933

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A Bone-Anchored Arm Prosthetic

An artificial limb should not only anatomically resemble its original counterpart but also function and feel just like it. Currently available prosthetic limbs allow for basic functions—closing a door or taking a step—but they often do not support fine-motor control or sensory perception. Ortiz-Catalan and coauthors describe a first-in-human trial of a bone-anchored (osseointegrated) upper-arm prosthetic that attached directly to the bone, nerves, and muscles of the remaining limb. The patient was followed for 1 year, demonstrating finer motor control (grasping, for example, an egg without breaking it) and a greater range of motion (touching toes and reaching arm overhead) compared with a conventional socket prosthesis with surface electrodes. Direct electrical stimulation of the peripheral nerves also provided the patient a sense of touch. The study was in only one patient, thus preventing quantification of improvement, which may vary depending on the amount of soft tissue and scar tissue remaining in the stump. Nevertheless, osseointegration could revolutionize the field of neuroprosthetics, giving patients more intuitive control and more freedom of movement.

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