For the first time ever in the United States, an amputee has undergone a prosthetic implant process known as osseointegration to gain the ability to move an arm and hand again. Researchers at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland are very happy with the end results.
Through this process, an advanced wireless technology reads the amputee’s thoughts and translates them into motion for the prosthetic arm. This empowers the amputee to accomplish a wide variety of motions that wouldn’t be possible with many other prosthetics.
Unlike many traditional prosthetics, which are affixed to the arm with straps or other securing devices outside of the body, this version of prosthetic arm, known as the Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL), is implanted directly into the bone of the patient through a surgical process, which gives it a snugger and securer feeling, as well as easier maneuverability that feels more natural.
Johnny Matheny, an amuptee because of cancer that affected his left arm and the patient who received the surgery, says that he believes this kind of technology will revolutionize the lives of amputees. Speaking for all amputees, and not just himself, he believes it’s a great solution for giving amputees a way to move again in ways that wouldn’t be possible without technology.
“It’s all natural now,” Matheny said after using the new implanted prosthetic arm. “Nothing is holding me down. Before, I had limited range; I couldn’t reach over my head and behind my back. Now – boom! – that limitation is gone.”
What’s more is after getting used to the implanted version of the prosthetic, Matheny now feels other prosthetics that simply strap on can feel uncomfortable.
In the video demonstration and overview below provided by John Hopkins University, you can see Matheny using the implanted prosthetic arm to grab objects and watch him control the arm fluidly: