Myoelectric Arms and Hands

​Myoelectric arms and hands are sometimes called bionic arms. Choosing a myoelectric arm or hand can be confusing and our goal is to help make your decision easier.  Our Upper Limb Specialists are trained on the latest technology and we have demonstrator units to help you find the best fit for your lifestyle and goals.

How to Choose a Myoelectric Hand

Myoelectric hands come in many sizes and colors, and each manufacturer offers something different.  Our prosthetists will share the features and benefits of popular hands by letting you try several models.

Myoelectric technology has evolved but some limitations still exist.  Myoelectric prosthetic users who need additional durability could benefit from an electronically controlled hook.  For maximum durability and waterproof functionality, a body-powered prosthesis could be the best option for your primary prosthesis.  A silicone prosthesis could be the best choice if you want a prosthesis that looks more natural.

Schedule a free evaluation to learn about myoelectric prosthetic arms and hands.  Call us at 1-877-4HANGER option 1 or visit our locations pages to find a Hanger Clinic location near you.

How Myoelectric Arms Are Controlled

Hanger Clinic employee, Lizbeth, demonstrates her new i-limb quantum with gesture control

Myoelectric prostheses are controlled by flexing or contracting muscles in your residual limb.  Sensors or electrodes in the prosthetic socket detect your muscle contractions and send commands to operate the high performance, battery-operated prosthetic motors.  The speed and strength of your muscle contractions determine how the prosthetic components move. 

Traditional myoelectric control systems use two electrode sites to sense muscle contractions from two major muscle groups.  Control systems that use more than two electrode sites are now being introduced and we can show you how the newer systems can help most prosthesis wearers.

CoApt Myoelectric Control System

The CoApt Pattern Recognition System allows more grip patterns by using up to eight pair of electrodes to sense contractions in your large and small muscles.  The CoApt system recognizes these patterns of muscle contractions and makes control of your prosthesis more natural.

Targeted Muscle Reinnervation

Targeted muscle reinnervation, or TMR, is a surgical procedure that helps people with below elbow, above elbow or shoulder amputations achieve better control of their prosthesis.  TMR reassigns nerves to different muscle groups that can function in place of lost muscles.  This surgery is sometimes combined with pattern recognition and it can be used for phantom pain control.  TMR is now performed at most major hospitals, and our Upper Limb Specialists can refer you to a qualified surgeon.

Muscle Transfers

People with partial hand amputations could benefit from individual finger control in a myoelectric hand.  A groundbreaking procedure called muscle transfer can help by moving remaining finger muscles to the back of the hand and wrist without damaging nerves and blood vessels.  Learn how Hanger Clinic built a prosthesis with individual finger control after OrthoCarolina completed a muscle transfer surgery.

Other Electrically Controlled Systems

Some prosthetic users may have difficulty making muscle contractions to control a myoelectric arm.  For those who struggle with traditional electrode systems, Hanger Clinic can use any combination of pressure switches, rocker switches, sensor pads and linear transducers to obtain the best myoelectric control. 

For further research on myoelectric controls, please view the first 20 minutes of the Amputee Coalition webinar on Myoelectric Controls hosted by Blair Lock of CoApt. 

Learn how myoelectric prosthetic arms and hands can help you by scheduling a free evaluation. Call us at 1-877-4HANGER option 1 or visit our locations pages to find a Hanger Clinic location near you.

New and Emerging Myoelectric and Bionic Arms

The DEKA and LUKE Arms

The LUKE Arm, also known as the DEKA Arm, was developed through DARPA and became available to the public in late 2016.  The LUKE Arm claims to provide greater functionality by providing grip force sensors and by allowing simultaneous control of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand.  Call us at 1-877-4HANGER option 1 or visit our locations pages to learn more the LUKE arm.

The Modular Prosthetic Limb

The Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) is being developed at Johns Hopkins University and is not commercially available.  The Modular Prosthetic Limb has more than 100 sensors so it can mimic many movements of the human arm and hand.  MPLs are currently being used for neurorehabilitation research across the United States and several more are in development.

Osseointegrated Prostheses

Osseointegration is a surgical procedure that eliminates the prosthetic socket.  A titanium post like those used in knee replacements connects directly to your bone.  The FDA is currently evaluating the procedure, which was originally developed in Europe.  Hanger Clinic patient, Johnny Matheny, can do much more with his experimental MPL prosthesis after osseointegration.

3D Printed Prostheses

Prosthetics made with 3D printers have been in the news as an inexpensive solution for people with upper limb loss.  Simple 3D printed devices are still experimental, but professional prosthetists also use 3D printing to expand the range of available prosthetic solutions.  We encourage you to visit any Hanger Clinic location for a complimentary evaluation.  Please visit our page on paying for your prosthesis if you need help paying for your prosthesis.

To schedule a free evaluation and learn about your possibilities with a myoelectric prosthesis, Call us at 1-877-4HANGER option 1 or visit our locations pages to find a Hanger Clinic location near you.