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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The 21st century continues to produce major advancements in prosthetic limb technology. Specifically, improvements to the myo-electric prosthesis have helped numerous upper limb amputees, especially transhumeral patients. Targeted muscle reinnervation surgery has allowed for more seamless control of the prosthetic device by creating new control centers for the unused nerves of the residual arm. Additionally, improvements in pattern recognition technology have enabled transhumeral amputees to gain more natural control of the prosthesis and consequently better imitate a biological limb. Another important development is in regards to the configuration and placement of electromyography electrodes on the amputee’s body. Using high-density electrodes implanted totally beneath the patient’s skin have dramatically improved accuracy and performance of the electromyography readings. One of the most current and promising developments has been targeted sensory reinnervation. Preliminary studies have shown that this surgery can provide a dual flow of both motor and sensory information simultaneously between the patient’s residual limb and the prosthesis. Studies also indicate that using osseointegration surgery to connect the prosthetic device directly to the patient’s bone has improved its performance and made it more comfortable for the user. Finally, by undergoing extensive training and rehabilitation under the guidance of therapists knowledgeable with upper limb prostheses, transhumeral amputees can gain remarkable skills in prosthetic limb locomotion. Further advancement is required but research continues at a quick pace in improving prosthetic devices so that one day they can truly replace biological limbs.

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