Most people fight to keep their limbs intact after an accident, but sometimes electronic appendages give patients more power than flesh and blood.
After suffering severe nerve damage that left their hands paralyzed, three men elected to have their hands amputated and replaced with bionic ones, New Scientist reports. And thanks to the surgeries, the men can now use their hands to pick up and grasp objects, something their own limbs couldn’t do.
Oskar Aszmann at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria performed the operation, and first grafted muscle from the men’s legs into the arm to improve the signals from the nerve endings in the arm to the brain. Then the patients practiced with a sensor wrapped around their lower arm that monitored the electrical activity, and eventually the amputation took place. The prosthetic hands need to be plugged in to recharge every night.
Now, the men can use their prosthetic hands just like they could before nerve damage destroyed the limbs, thanks to the electrical pulses that carry instructions from the brain to the arm muscle and are picked up by the sensors in the bionic arm.
New Scientist created a video showing just how much the prosthetics improved the dexterity of the patients.
“Bionic” devices are revolutionizing the way patients can be cared for after accidents or when genetic disorders weaken certain bodily functions. Recently in Minnesota, a man saw his wife for the first time in 10 years thanks to a bionic eye that sends and receives images through electronic pulses. And last year, people on Twitter helped crowdfund a similar “bionic” prosthesis for a young woman so she could finally hug her dad.
H/T New Scientist | Screengrab via New Scientist/YouTube