Background: A combined approach for prosthetic attachment and control using a transcutaneous bone-anchored device and implanted muscle electrodes can improve function for upper-limb amputees. The bone-anchor provides a transcutaneous feed-through for muscle signal recording. This approach can be combined with targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) to further improve myoelectric control.
Methods: A bone-anchored device was implanted trans-tibially in n = 8 sheep with a bipolar recording electrode secured epimysially to the peroneus tertius muscle. TMR was carried out in a single animal: the peroneus tertius was deinnervated and the distal portion of the transected nerve to the peroneus muscle was coapted to a transected nerve branch previously supplying the tibialis anterior muscle. For 12 weeks (TMR) or 19 weeks (standard procedure), epimysial muscle signals were recorded while animals walked at 2 km·h−1.
Results: After 19 weeks implantation following standard procedure, epimysial recording signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was 18.7 dB (± 6.4 dB, 95% CI) with typical recordings falling in the range 10–25 dB. Recoveries in gait and muscle signals were coincident 6 weeks post-TMR; initial muscle activity was identifiable 3 weeks post-TMR though with low signal amplitude and signal-to-noise ratio compared with normal muscle recordings.
Conclusions: Following recovery, muscle signals were recorded reliably over 19 weeks following implantation. In this study, targeted reinnervation was successful in parallel with bone-anchor implantation, with recovery identified 6 weeks after surgery.