Center for Bionic Medicine - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Skip to Content

The Center for Bionic Medicine

CBM Hand

About the Center for Bionic Medicine

The Center for Bionic Medicine (CBM) is a research program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) based on over 20 years of research. The goal of CBM is to improve function and quality of life for people who have suffered limb loss.

Currently, individuals who have undergone amputation are only able to operate one motion at a time with myoelectric prostheses. CBM has pioneered a technique called "targeted reinnervation" to improve myoelectric prosthesis function. With this technique, amputated nerves are transferred to spare muscle and skin in an amputee's residual limb. The nerves grow into the muscle to provide additional control signals for the operation of a prosthesis. This allows patients to control multiple functions in their prosthesis at the same time in an easier, more natural manner.

“Sensory reinnervation” also takes place following the targeted reinnervation procedure; the patient feels touch to the reinnervated skin as being applied to their missing limb. This may allow the amputee to actually "feel" what they are touching with a prosthetic hand. Through these studies, CBM is working to develop a state-of-the-art prosthesis that includes shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand components, as well as haptic interfaces to provide the sense of touch.


Surgical Training Video:

Targeted Reinnervation for Transhumeral Amputees

In collaboration with Dr. Gregory Dumanian, of Northwestern University’s Department of Plastic Surgery, CBM is pleased to now offer a comprehensive surgical training video on targeted reinnervation for the transhumeral amputee.

View the surgical training video

First Targeted Reinnervation Patients:

Jesse Sullivan

Jesse Sullivan: 1st  Targeted Reinnervation Patient

Watch video

Claudia Mitchell

Claudia Mitchell: 1st Woman with Targeted Reinnervation

Watch video

More videos:

A more detailed description of this work is available through Northwestern's Science in Society web page in the feature article New Prospects for Prosthetics.

For more specific questions about this research email us.