Updated February 16th, 2021 at 19:45 IST

Researches invent a surgery that gives amputees better control on their Prosthetic Limbs

A group of researchers from MIT have invented a new type of amputation surgery that helps amputees to better control their residual muscles.

Reported by: Akanksha Arora
| Image:self

A group of researchers from MIT have invented a new type of amputation surgery that helps amputees to better control their residual muscles and sense where their "phantom limb" is in space. In most cases, amputees who have muscle pairs that control the affected joints are usually severed. The team of researchers have now found that reconnecting these muscle pairs and allowing them to retain their normal push-pull relationship, offer people much better sensory feedback.

15 patients examined 

As a part of the study, 15 patients who received this new type of surgery, could control their muscles more precisely. Named as agonist-antagonist myoneural interface, the surgery helped the patients feel more freedom of movement and less pain in their affected limb. Shriya Srinivasan, an MIT postdoc and lead author of the study said that the study shows that the better patients can dynamically move their muscles. Other authors of the study include Samantha Gutierrez-Arango and Erica Israel, senior research support associates at the Media Lab; Ashley Chia-En Teng, an MIT undergraduate; Hyungeun Song, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology; Zachary Bailey, a former visiting researcher at the Media Lab; Matthew Carty, a visiting scientist at the Media Lab; and Lisa Freed, a Media Lab research scientist. 

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During a conventional limb amputation, the muscles that control the limb movement are restricted. This cuts off the sensory feedback and makes it much harder for amputees to feel where their prosthetic limbs are in space. Srinivasan, a former member of the Biomechatronics group now one muscle contracts, the other one doesn't have its antagonist activity. Even with state-of-the-art prostheses, people are constantly visually following the prosthesis. 

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Also, the researchers discovered that the AMI patients reported less pain and a greater sensation of freedom of movement in their amputated limbs. They developed a modified version of the surgery that can be performed on people who have already had a traditional amputation. Known as "regenerative AMI”, this process involves grafting small muscle segments to serve as the agonist and antagonist muscles for an amputated joint. The researchers are also working on developing the AMI procedure for other types of amputations.

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(Image Credits: Unsplash)


Published February 16th, 2021 at 19:45 IST