Bionics is a blessing we received in this era of neuroscience. Like all the other allied disciplines neuroscience also benefited prosthesis to a remarkable capacity. Prosthetics as a discipline is rather new, but the use of prostheses began back in the medieval era. Back then only a few craftsmen could manufacture prostheses. And the materials they utilized were not up to the mark as well. The concept of composite materials was back then in its infancy. Thus the prostheses of the medieval era were heavy, clunky, and mostly served a cosmetic purpose. Clearly, this rare piece of medieval marvel was restricted to only the rich and privileged of the society. The notion of wielding prostheses thus carried a strong social statement of class and power.
With time the material used in making a prosthesis changed and it became more agile, usable and better looking. After the emergence of bionics as a contributing factor, the functional aspects were added to the mix and bionic prostheses became a wonderful tool for post-amputation rehabilitation. This article will try to evaluate bionic prosthesis as a means of effective rehabilitation of post-amputation complications. And provide an idea to the reader regarding the investment of effort and time in the process.
How a bionic prosthesis functions
A bionic hand imitates gestures and actions performed by real human hands. The hardware and software capabilities determine how many actions and gestures a bionic limb can perform. The wielder’s will is translated into gestures and actions by complex processing of electromyographic information from the muscles. The muscles in the case of amputations are essentials and surgeons try to preserve them in a functional state. Amputees failing to retain the relevant residual muscles are not eligible for wielding a bionic prosthesis.
Phase of preparation
In order to wield a bionic prosthesis effectively, the limb should be welcoming enough towards the new enhancement. Thus the mounting points are processed through repeated surgeries. This procedure includes removal of any unnecessary anatomy, and reinnervation of residual muscles so that a functional source of signals can be gained. This process is better known as bionic reconstruction.
This process is fairly long and for an amputee and mostly accompanied by complications such as a painful phantom limb and a plethora of psychological disorders. An amputee, during this time, learns about the new enhancement. And understands the limitations and capabilities of the device so that a safe and optimum utility can be achieved. Given the physio-anatomical circumstances an amputee goes through, only motivated and sincerely willing individuals are likely to survive through the ordeal.
Alleviation of phantom limb pain
The phantom limb phenomenon demonstrates a staggering 64% prevalence worldwide. Thus is a major ordeal to be considered. The loss of a limb is not immediately recognized and acknowledged by the brain. In order to operate the limb properly, the brain requires a set of anatomical modifications. After the loss of a limb, the modifications do not vanish overnight. Several months of under-utilization leads to inactivity. But before the inactivation, a pseudo sensation of a non-existent limb remains. And the frustrating sensation leads to severe pain very often, known as phantom limb pain.
An electronic bionic prosthesis alleviates the pain by utilizing the existing modification and by giving them a positive outlet.
Alleviation of other mental ordeals
An amputation leads to a dependent life. The degree of dependency is so high that an amputee depends on others for every little mundane task. And the healing period is unfailingly full of loneliness and seclusion. Thus an amputee develops issues related to psyche and behavior. Among these disorders frustrations are the most occurring. As the absence of essential abilities leads to rewarding deprivation. A long absence of social life also leads to depression.
A bionic hand in this case does not alleviate the conditions quickly. Because it can not replace the lost limb. But it gives back a lot of essential abilities able to alleviate frustrations. And restoring body balance and other abilities essential for socializing a bionic prosthesis helps with the alleviation of personality disorders and depression.
It also gives back the independence of performing essential tasks without external help from others and restores self-respect and esteem in the process.