Serious injuries that damage nerve networks can leave entire appendages useless. According to the research published in The Lancet, three Austrian men who lost the functional ability to control one of their arms due to brachial plexus injuries have undergone a radical new procedure called bionic reconstruction. In summary, this involves a surgery to reposition nerves and muscle in preparation for amputation. The arm is replaced with an advanced powered prosthetic that integrates with the electrical activity coming from the prepared stump.
The technique required quite a bit of preparation from the patients, initially learning how to control a virtual arm via electrodes on the skin. Following that, a prosthetic arm was attached to the existing arm, a sort of hybrid to further develop a natural sense for using the robotic hand. Following amputation, further rehabilitation helped to train the brain to work with the new arm providing quite impressive results, allowing the patients to perform complex tasks. Here’s a video showing a patient’s ability at each stage of the process: