Library Subscription: Guest
Begell Digital Portal Begell Digital Library eBooks Journals References & Proceedings Research Collections
Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
SJR: 0.332 SNIP: 0.491 CiteScore™: 0.89

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v12.i3.40
14 pages

Functional Electrical Stimulation in Tetraplegic Patients to Restore Hand Function

Richard Edlich
Legacy Verified Level I Shock Trauma Center Pediatrics and Adults, Legacy Emanual Hospital; and Plastic Surgery, Biomedical Engineering and Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, USA
Gregory G. Degnan
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia
Tyler C. Wind
Plastic Surgical Research Program, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia


The purpose of this collective review is to describe a new form of functional electrical stimulation called neuroprosthesis. This unique technology has been devised to produce lateral pinch and palmar grasp in persons with C5 and C6 motor level spinal cord injuries. This neuroprosthesis includes external as well as implanted components. First, a receiver is surgically implanted into the patient's chest above a pectoralis major muscle. The receiver stimulator is then connected to 8 surgically implanted epimysial or intramuscular electrodes. Restoration of upper extremity function can greatly improve the lives of people affected with tetraplegia. When contralateral shoulder movements trigger an external transmitting coil, it sends a radio wave impulse to the stimulator inducing contraction of the muscles. Many tetraplegics are regaining hand function using implanted functional electrical stimulation. One major limitation is that the key muscles to be stimulated may have lower motor neuron damage, but this obstacle has been successfully overcome using surgical modifications of the biomechanics of the hand.