Breakthrough in Bionic Hand Technology Gives Unprecedented Control
New developments allow the brain to send instructions directly to prosthesis
Three men in Austria made medical history in early 2015 by replacing their injured hands with robotic prostheses. While artificial hands aren’t new in the world of synthetic limbs, what makes these hands special is how they are controlled. Unlike traditional manually-controlled prosthetics, which are manipulated through joint and muscle movement, these hands can be controlled directly from the men’s minds.
The procedure is still in its infancy, taking nerves and muscle tissue from the men’s legs and transplanting it into their arms. It’s a process doctors refer to as “bionic reconstruction.” Once the nerves are in place, the patients are trained to send signals through those nerves to the bionic hand, which responds with motion and control.
In all three cases, the patients still had hands, but they were no longer functional due to injuries. They elected to have their injured hands amputated and replaced with the experimental bionic hand. Whether replacing an injured hand or one that has been previously amputated, the bionic hands show great promise and offer distinct advantages over hand transplants, including eliminating the need for lifelong anti-rejection medications after the procedure.
The only limitation to the bionic hand is that the robotic prosthesis cannot interpret all the different ways the brain might send information, so patients must be trained on how to activate the hand in the way they want. Also, because the hand does not send information back to the brain, there is no feeling or other biofeedback from the hand. Still, the patients have had few complaints and have been thrilled to have regained use of their hands.
This new development in bionic prostheses provides many new opportunities for amputees and victims of hand injuries. The field is still developing, but possibilities like this are important for an injured person to consider when looking at their medical and legal options. The Ohio medical malpractice attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm encourage all injury victims to speak with them at their Cleveland office to determine the best course of action to secure compensation and to understand all possible options for returning to a normal life after a serious injury.
About The Eisen Law Firm
The Eisen Law Firm, a Cleveland, Ohio law firm focused exclusively on medical malpractice law and wrongful death, has significant experience and success representing victims suffering a wide range of medical malpractice injuries, including birth injuries, brain and spinal cord injuries, surgical and hospital mistakes, diagnosis and treatment errors and other matters. The firm is located at 1300 East 9th Street, Suite 1200, Cleveland OH 44114. Additional information about The Eisen Law Firm and attorney Brian N. Eisen may be obtained by calling 216-687-0900 or visiting the firm’s website at www.MalpracticeOhio.com.