PhD-students in Hannover for pilot study

February 20, 2023

Spinal reflexes in amputees: joined pilot study with Hannover Medical School

In January two researches from the Institute for Modelling and Simulation of Biomechanical Systems, Laura Schmid and Dogukan Keles, visited Hannover Medical School within the framework of an international research cooperation on spinal reflexes in amputees.

Dr. Jennifer Ernst, head of Innovative Amputation Medicine at Hannover Medical School, is one of a few surgeons worldwide to treat amputation patients with the innovative agonist-antagonist myoneural interface [1].

The agonist-antagonist myoneural interface aims to preserve the natural communication between residual muscles by mechanically connecting an opposing muscle pair. It is assumed that the mechanical coupling between the muscles replaces the movement of the amputated joint and preserves spinal reflexes which are usually triggered by joint movements. Together with Dr. Utku Yavuz (TU Twente), an expert for spinal reflexes, an experimental setup, which allows to measure spinal reflexes in amputees, was developed and tested. The insights gained from the pilot tests will be used to improve the measurement protocol.

The results of this study will help to improve the surgical practice, serve as basis for simulation studies and improve our understanding of the adaptation of the spinal cord to major interventions in the musculoskeletal system. 


[1] Herr, Hugh M., et al. "Reinventing extremity amputation in the era of functional limb restoration." Annals of surgery 273.2 (2021): 269-279.

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