Methodology for creating a chronic osseointegrated neural interface for prosthetic control in rabbits

J Neurosci Methods. 2020 Feb 1;331:108504. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2019.108504. Epub 2019 Nov 8.


Background: Chronic stability and high degrees of selectivity are both essential but somewhat juxtaposed components for creating an implantable bi-directional PNI capable of controlling of a prosthetic limb. While the more invasive implantable electrode arrays provide greater specificity, they are less stable over time due to compliance mismatch with the dynamic soft tissue environment in which the interface is created.

New method: This paper takes the surgical approach of transposing nerves into bone to create neural interface within the medullary canal of long bones, an osseointegrated neural interface, to provide greater stability for implantable electrodes. In this context, we describe the surgical model for transfemoral amputation with transposition of the sciatic nerve into the medullary canal in rabbits. We investigate the capacity to create a neural interface within the medullary canal histolomorphologically. In a separate proof of concept experiment, we quantify the chronic physiological capacity of transposed nerves to conduct compound nerve action potentials evoked via an Osseointegrated Neural Interface.

Comparison with existing method(s): The rabbit serves as an important animal model for both amputation neuroma and osseointegration research, but is underutilized for the exploration neural interfacing in an amputation setting.

Results: Our findings demonstrate that transposed nerves remain stable over 12 weeks. Creating a neural interface within the medullary canal is possible and does not impede nerve regeneration or physiological capacity.

Conclusions: This article represents the first evidence that an Osseointegrated Neural Interface can be surgically created, capable of chronic stimulation/recording from amputated nerves required for future prosthetic control.

Keywords: Amputation; Bidirectional neural interface; Bidirectional prosthesis; Neural interface; Neuroma; Osseointegration; Peripheral nerve interface; Prostheses; Prostheses control; Prosthetic; Prosthetic control; Prosthetics; Transposition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amputees*
  • Animals
  • Artificial Limbs*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Humans
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Osseointegration
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Rabbits