Recapitulating flesh with silicon and steel: Advancements in upper extremity robotic prosthetics

Brian Lee, Frank J. Attenello, Charles Y. Liu, Michael P. McLoughlin, Michael L.J. Apuzzo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


With the loss of function of an upper extremity because of stroke or spinal cord injury or a physical loss from amputation, an individual's life is forever changed, and activities that were once routine become a magnitude more difficult. Much research and effort have been put into developing advanced robotic prostheses to restore upper extremity function. For patients with upper extremity amputations, previously crude prostheses have evolved to become exceptionally functional. Because the upper extremities can perform a wide variety of activities, several types of upper extremity prostheses are available ranging from passive cosmetic limbs to externally powered robotic limbs. In addition, new developments in brain-machine interface are poised to revolutionize how patients can control these advanced prostheses using their thoughts alone. For patients with spinal cord injury or stroke, functional electrical stimulation promises to provide the most sophisticated prosthetic limbs possible by reanimating paralyzed arms of these patients. Advances in technology and robotics continue to help patients recover vital function. This article examines the latest neurorestorative technologies for patients who have either undergone amputation or lost the use of their upper extremities secondary to stroke or spinal cord injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)730-741
Number of pages12
JournalWorld neurosurgery
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2014


  • Arm
  • Brain-machine interface
  • Limb
  • Prosthetic
  • Robotic
  • Upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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