Prosthetic Limbs Could Now Provide More Control Thanks  to The New Amputation Surgery
(Photo : Screenshot from YouTube/Forces News) Researchers from MIT discovered that a new surgery can help the amputated persons to have a better control of their prosthetic limbs.

A new study revealed that a new amputation surgery will aid the amputees to utilize their "phantom limb" better with less pain. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found out that the results indicated a much better response from the patients.

New Amputation Surgery Lets Amputees To Have More Control But Lesser Pain

Researchers from MIT reported that when muscle pairs are reconnected, it permits retention of them which in return enables the amputees to have a better grasp of the prosthetic limbs.

According to the lead author of the study, Shriya Srinivasan,  the previous studies were bridged to the current study to become helpful in providing the patients with the desired movement. Furthermore, this translates to good control of the make-shift body part so using the prostheses will be much easier and lighter.

In the study, the researchers conducted an examination on 15 patients who were recipients of the new surgery. The latest operation is termed the agonist-antagonist interface (AMI), wherein the traditional amputations could be surpassed through more precise control of the muscles. Meanwhile, the patients gave positive feedback upon the test, stating that they feel freer while experiencing less pain in the amputated limb.

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"Through surgical and regenerative techniques that restore natural agonist-antagonist muscle movements, our study shows that persons with an AMI amputation experience a greater phantom joint range of motion, a reduced level of pain, and an increased fidelity of prosthetic limb controllability," told Hugh Herr, the senior author of the study and the Biomechatronics group head, Science Codex reported.

Study Reveals Improved Sensation Of The Affected Limbs

Srinivasan stated when contraction of muscle occurs, the brain could sometimes become confused in receiving the signals because the other muscle does not contain an antagonist activity. Prior to the study, the Biomechatronics team from MIT enables the muscles to stabilize so they will not severe each other. 

In connection to that, the researches unveiled in 2017 that when muscle contraction happens among animals, one of the two muscles will be subject to stretching and it will send a signal to the brain. The study made use of the rats as the subjects.

For the current study, the muscle movements in the ankle as well as in subtalar joints were monitored among 15 patients who received a new type of surgery. The ankle muscles and the muscles that power the subtalar joint were reconnected upon surgery. For the comparison, seven people who underwent traditional amputations below the knee were selected.

During the study, the subjects were not allowed to use the prosthetic limbs upon the evaluation. In addition, they were instructed to stretch the undamaged limb and the prosthetic one. so the researchers could now calculate the electrodes from two different legs. This will further assess whether the muscle activity is consistent throughout the period.

For assessment, electrical signals were compared. Those patients who underwent AMI amputation were seen to have more freedom in moving their legs compared to those patients who underwent traditional surgery.

Furthermore, the MIT researchers have already constructed a surgery for those who were traditionally amputated. It is called the regenerative AMI, where the muscles are grafted into small parts. They will be the agonist and antagonist muscles for the amputated part.

To view the full study, access here.

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Written by Joen Coronel

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