Swedish Scientists Implant Prosthetic-Controlling Electrodes

A team of surgeons at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden has implanted electrodes into a patient in hopes of giving him more complete and natural control of his prosthetic arm.

A news announcement said the electrodes were "permanently implanted in nerves and muscles of an amputee to directly control an arm prosthesis. The result allows natural control of an advanced robotic prosthesis, similar to the motions of a natural limb."

Sahlgrenska University Hospital said the surgical team was led by Dr. Rickard Brånemark with technology developed by Max Ortiz Catalan, supervised by Brånemark and Bo Håkansson of Chalmers University of Technology, also located in Sweden.

Brånemark said of the surgery, "The new technology is a major breakthrough that has many advantages over current technology, which provides very limited functionality to patients with missing limbs."

The new technology, a news release from Chalmers said, answers two big challenges of successful prosthetic use: how to firmly attach the prosthetic to its human user, and how to enable that user to "intuitively and efficiently control the prosthesis in order to be truly useful and regain lost functionality."

Brånemark says the new process "combines a bone-anchored prosthesis" - via a titanium screw - "with implanted electrodes."

"It allows complete degree of motion for the patient, fewer skin-related problems and a more natural feeling that the prosthesis is part of the body," Brånemark says. "Overall, it brings better quality of life to people who are amputees."

For more on this research, click HERE.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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