A team of Austrian researchers recently announced it has performed the first successful fitting of a leg prosthesis that sends feelings to its wearer.
Hubert Egger, PhD, a professor at the FH Upper Austria’s University of Applied Sciences, and colleagues created a device with a neural interface allowing the wearer to feel on the sole of the prosthetic foot, leading to improved awareness of the ground and of obstacles. The patient fitted with the device no longer suffers from phantom limb pain, according to a press release.
Before the fitting, the patient underwent targeted sensory reinnervation surgery conducted by Eva-Maria Baur, MD, and Thomas Bauer, MD, both of the University Clinic for Reconstructive Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery in Innsbruck, a cooperation partner of the FH Upper Austria. The surgery involved the reactivation of sensorial nerve endings in the sole of the original foot in order to indicate pressure on the sole of the prosthesis and decrease pain from neural scarring by redirecting the nerves.
Egger also headed the development of a prototype of a mind-controlled and sensory-enhanced arm prosthesis, according to the release. The mind-controlled prosthetic arm was approved by the FDA in 2014.