Amputation Surgery Sensory Feedback

MIT scientists in partnership with cosmetic surgeons at Harvard Medical School have actually created a brand-new kind of amputation surgery that can assist amputees better control their residual muscles and get sensory feedback. Credit: MIT

Reconnecting muscle sets throughout amputation provides clients more sensory feedback from the limb.

MIT researchers have actually developed a brand-new kind of amputation surgical treatment that can help amputees to much better manage their residual muscles and sense where their “phantom limb” is in space. This brought back sense of proprioception must translate to much better control of prosthetic limbs, along with a decrease of limb discomfort, the scientists state.

In the majority of amputations, muscle sets that control the affected joints, such as elbows or ankles, are severed. Nevertheless, the MIT group has actually discovered that reconnecting these muscle pairs, permitting them to maintain their typical push-pull relationship, offers individuals far better sensory feedback.

” Both our study and previous research studies show that the much better clients can dynamically move their muscles, the more control they’re going to have. The better an individual can actuate muscles that move their phantom ankle, for example, the much better they’re in fact able to utilize their prostheses,” says Shriya Srinivasan, an MIT postdoc and lead author of the research study.

In a study that was published on February 16, 2021, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 15 clients who received this new type of surgery, called agonist-antagonist myoneural user interface (AMI), could manage their muscles more precisely than clients with traditional amputations. The AMI patients also reported feeling more flexibility of motion and less discomfort in their affected limb.

Prosthetic Sensory Feedback

MIT researchers in collaboration with surgeons at Harvard Medical School have designed a brand-new type of amputation surgery that can help amputees better manage their residual muscles and receive sensory feedback. Credit: MIT

” Through surgical and regenerative strategies that bring back natural agonist-antagonist muscle movements, our research study reveals that persons with an AMI amputation experience a higher phantom joint range of movement, a minimized level of discomfort, and an increased fidelity of prosthetic limb controllability,” says Hugh Herr, a professor of media arts and sciences, head of the Biomechatronics group in the Media Laboratory, and the senior author of the paper.

Other authors of the paper consist of Samantha Gutierrez-Arango and Erica Israel, senior research support associates at the Media Laboratory; Ashley Chia-En Teng, an MIT undergraduate; Hyungeun Song, a college student in the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology; Zachary Bailey, a former going to scientist at the Media Laboratory; Matthew Carty, a checking out scientist at the Media Laboratory; and Lisa Freed, a Media Lab research researcher.

Bring back feeling

Many muscles that manage limb movement take place in pairs that alternately stretch and agreement. One example of these agonist-antagonist pairs is the biceps and triceps. When you bend your elbow, the biceps muscle agreements, causing the triceps to extend, which stretch sends out sensory info back to the brain.

During a standard limb amputation, these muscle motions are restricted, cutting off this sensory feedback and making it much harder for amputees to feel where their prosthetic limbs remain in space or to pick up forces used to those limbs.

” When one muscle agreements, the other one does not have its villain activity, so the brain gets confusing signals,” states Srinivasan, a previous member of the Biomechatronics group now operating at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research Study. “Even with advanced prostheses, people are constantly aesthetically following the prosthesis to try to adjust their brains to where the gadget is moving.”

A few years earlier, the MIT Biomechatronics group created and clinically developed in preclinical studies a brand-new amputation technique that maintains the relationships between those muscle sets. Rather of severing each muscle, they connect the two ends of the muscles so that they still dynamically communicate with each other within the residual limb. In a 2017 study of rats, they revealed that when the animals contracted one muscle of the pair, the other muscle would stretch and send out sensory details back to the brain.

In the new PNAS study, the scientists determined the precision of muscle movements in the ankle and subtalar joints of 15 clients who had AMI amputations carried out below the knee. These clients had 2 sets of muscles reconnected during their amputation: the muscles that manage the ankle, and those that manage the subtalar joint, which enables the sole of the foot to tilt inward or outward.

Each patient was evaluated while lying down with their legs propped on a foam pillow, enabling their feet to extend into the air. Clients did not use prosthetic limbs during the study. The scientists asked them to bend their ankle joints– both the undamaged one and the “phantom” one– by 25, 50, 75, or 100 percent of their full range of motion. Electrodes connected to each leg enabled the researchers to determine the activity of particular muscles as each movement was performed repeatedly.

The researchers compared the electrical signals coming from the muscles in the amputated limb with those from the intact limb and discovered that for AMI clients, they were really similar. They likewise found that clients with the AMI amputation were able to control the muscles of their amputated limb much more specifically than the patients with traditional amputations.

” The AMI patients’ capability to control these muscles was a lot more instinctive than those with normal amputations, which largely had to do with the way their brain was processing how the phantom limb was moving,” Srinivasan states.

In a paper that recently appeared in Science Translational Medicine, the scientists reported that brain scans of the AMI amputees showed that they were getting more sensory feedback from their recurring muscles than patients with traditional amputations. In work that is now continuous, the researchers are determining whether this ability translates to much better control of a prosthetic leg while walking.

Flexibility of motion

The researchers also found an effect they did not prepare for: AMI patients reported much less pain and a higher feeling of liberty of motion in their amputated limbs.

” Our research study wasn’t specifically developed to achieve this, but it was a belief our topics revealed over and over again. They had a much higher sensation of what their foot really felt like and how it was relocating space,” Srinivasan says. “It ended up being increasingly evident that bring back the muscles to their normal physiology had advantages not only for prosthetic control, however also for their daily psychological well-being.”

This procedure, which they call “regenerative AMI,” involves implanting little muscle sections to serve as the agonist and villain muscles for a cut off joint.

” We’re learning that this method of rewiring the limb, and utilizing extra parts to reconstruct that limb, is working, and it’s applicable to various parts of the body,” Herr says.

Reference: “Neural interfacing architecture makes it possible for enhanced motor control and recurring limb functionality postamputation” by Shriya S. Srinivasan, Samantha Gutierrez-Arango, Ashley Chia-En Teng, Erica Israel, Hyungeun Tune, Zachary Keith Bailey, Matthew J. Carty, Lisa E. Freed and Hugh M. Herr, 16 February 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
DOI: 10.1073/ pnas.2019555118

The research was funded by the MIT Media Lab Consortia; the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Kid Health and Person Development and National Center for Medical Rehab Research; and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs of the U.S. Department of Defense.


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