Excessive cuts reduce the connective tissue such as the elbow or knee, distorting perceptions of the organ’s position in the air that may help patients to adjust their limbs. But the surgical procedure developed by MIT researchers seems to leave amputees with more flexibility and less pain than amputated individuals.
In the operation of the agonist-antagonist myoneural interface (AMI), which the Biomechatronics Group led by Hugh Herr, SM ’93, at the MIT Media Lab was formed a few years ago, the two ends of the stem reconnect to remain intact within one residual organ: one of the two when connected, the other stretches, sending information to the brain.
A learning published in February of 15 patients who underwent AMI amputation below the knee found that they were able to straighten their muscles more accurately than amputated patients. Unexpectedly, AMI patients also reported feeling more freedom of movement and less pain in their affected legs.
“It has also been shown that muscle restoration is beneficial not only in prostate control, but also on daily health,” says Shriya Srinivasan, PhD ’20, MIT postdoc and lead author of the study.
Researchers have also developed a link between two types of tissue in those who have been traditionally circumcised. He is working on developing an AMI amputation technique in some areas, including the top of the knee as well as the upper and lower extremities, and to check if the benefits mean better movement of the artificial leg while walking.
“We are learning that this regenerative process, with the use of reconstructive tools to rebuild the organ, works, and works in different areas of the body,” says Herr.