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Use of a virtual integrated environment in prosthetic limb development and phantom limb pain.

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Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Patients face two major difficulties following limb loss: phantom limb pain (PLP) in the residual limb and limited functionality in the prosthetic limb. Many studies have focused on decreasing PLP with mirror therapy, yet few have examined the same visual ameliorating effect with a virtual or prosthetic limb. Our study addresses the following key questions: (1) does PLP decrease through observation of a 3D limb in a virtual integration environment (VIE) and (2) can consistent surface electromyography (sEMG) signals from the VIE drive an advanced modular prosthetic limb (MPL)? Recorded signals from the residual limb were correlated to the desired motion of the phantom limb, and changes in PLP were scored during each VIE session. Preliminary results show an overall reduction in PLP and a trend toward improvement in signal-to-motion accuracy over time. These signals allowed MPL users to perform a wide range of hand motions.

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