How Titanium Osseointegration Is Bringing Artificial Limbs To Life

Amputees have a lot to look forward to as the mechanics of artificial limbs become more and more lifelike and usable. While many years of research has gone into the formation of artificial limbs that look and feel real, most are still challenging for patients to exert control over them for specific types of movement. Today, steps are being made that is changing the way prosthetic arms and legs work, being able to send and receive messages to the brain like real limbs. Find out more about how titanium and its ability to osseointegrate is making it possible for greater artificial limb control.

Why Titanium Is The Number One Choice

Titanium has been used in the human body for medical devices like joint and dental implants since around the 1950s because of its ability to osseointegrate. Osseointegration means titanium is able to attach to human tissue like bone, creating a stability never achieved with other materials. Because of the way titanium can rest in the human body without unwanted side effects, it has been the number one choice for implants. However, today it is being used for prosthetic limbs because of its ability to attach to bone.

Electrode-Controlled Limbs Could Become A Thing Of The Past

When the first patient was given an artificial arm that was controlled by an implanted neuromuscular interface, he found it made it a lot easier to control his artificial arm. The same patient had used the traditional type of prosthetic that was controlled using electrodes that attached to the skin. While electrode-controlled limbs are better than no limb at all, limbs controlled by implanted interfaces are making it more like having a real limb back because the interfaces receive and send messages to the brain. With implanted interfaces, patients can have more control over an artificial limb. For example, being able to pick fragile items like eggs or being able to perform tasks like tying shoes is possible with mind-controlled artificial limbs.

Feeling Sensations With Artificial Limbs is Now Possible

Because of the way implanted interfaces are connected to muscles and nerves, being able to feel textures is possible. For example, if you felt a cotton ball without looking at it, you would feel it and know it was a cotton ball, a sensory test given to the amputee who received a mind-controlled prosthetic arm. Sensory and touch perception is hugely important to basic survival skills. For people that have lost their limbs, being able to touch something and feel it is an amazing step back into real life without disability.

In past years, if you lost an arm or leg, you were facing a life-long disability. Thanks to the advancements being made in the modern world of medicine, however, amputees can look forward to re-gaining a large part of their normal lives and daily routines.

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