New York, February 16 (IANS): Researchers have invented a new type of amputation surgery that can help amputated people better control their remaining muscles and sense where their “phantom limb” is in space.
According to the team, this renewed sense of proprioception should translate into better control of prosthetic limbs as well as reduced limb pain.
In most amputations, the muscle pairs that control the affected joints, such as the elbows or ankles, are broken.
However, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that reconnecting these muscle pairs, allowing them to maintain their normal push-pull relationship, offers people much better sensory feedback.
“Through surgical and regenerative techniques that restore natural agonist-antagonist muscle movements, our study shows that people with AMI amputation experience greater phantom range of motion, reduced pain levels, and increased fidelity to controlling prosthetic limbs,” he said. researcher Hugh Herr from MIT.
For the study to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research team included 15 patients who received this new type of surgery.
This surgery, known as the agonist-antagonist myoneural interface (AMI), could control its muscles more precisely than patients with traditional amputations, the team said.
Patients with AMI also reported feeling greater freedom of movement and less pain in the affected limb.
The research team has also developed a modified version of the operation that can be reported to people who have already had a traditional amputation.
This process, called “regenerative AMI”, involves grafting small muscle segments that will serve as agonist and antagonist muscles of the amputated joint.