Advances in Medical Technology: Bionic Limbs – Musculoskeletal System Example

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"Advances in Medical Technology: Bionic Limbs" is a perfect example of a paper on the musculoskeletal system. The  fact that intelligence is infinite and human beings are continuously interacting with it mean that all facets of human existence are also dynamic. One of the facets of human existence that have been positively impacted is the field of medical technology. Simply put, medical technology refers to any invention which is used for effective and safe diagnosis, prevention, treatment and diagnosis of diseases and illnesses. In this respect, it is obvious that medical technology includes medical procedures, equipment, pharmaceuticals, and management systems that are expended in the healthcare sector.

Obviously, the field of bionics or prosthetics features herein. There is a close relationship between bionics and prosthetics. Prosthetics refer to the technology or the act of or the study of attaching or adding an implant or an external organ or part of the body that serves as a substitute or a supplement for a defective or missing part of the body. On the other hand, the term bionics refers to the study of or analysis of mechanical systems that perform the tasks of living organisms, or parts of the living organisms.

    Bionics may also refer to the very application of biological systems and methods that are found in nature to engineering systems design and modern technology (Connolly, 290-293). Transitions to Prosthetics and In-Depth Venture into Bionic Limbs                       The advent of prosthetic limbs dates back to thousands of years. This means that the same technology has undergone numerous refinements and transformations, in an attempt to neutralize the pitfalls that accost the use of the technology. Despite the transformations that have been made, there are still disadvantages that follow bionics and prosthetics.

For instance, some limb prosthetics are very heavy and make their use tiresome while others are reactive to the user’ s physiological system. Again, prosthetics and bionics have encountered serious difficulty in replicating the structure and function of Achilles’ tendon and the calf muscle.   It is for this reason that medical associations such as iWalk and BiOM have come out to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and safety in prosthetics and bionics (Steve and Simmons, 279). Higher versions of bionic limbs weighing only a few pounds are replacing older forms with the devices held by suction and a silicon sheath (in most instances) on the stump where the limb ought to be helping to create a tighter seal around the limb.

This ensures simultaneous maximum comfort and strength/ firmness of the device grip. In these new improvements, each finger is operated by its own motor with two internal electrodes that react to signals from the muscles in the residual limb thus conveying signal to one electrode effects the opening of the hand while signals to the other close the arm (May & Lockard, 345). The current bionic limbs in the market comprise superior software, batteries that last longer and microprocessors that are more efficient yet smaller.

Even as it is, these innovators are actively continuing to make improvements on the current devices that have been praised to be user friendly and versatile. For instance, experimental implants by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) that connects the brain to a computer will hopefully result in success and enable the users to mind-control their devices and even use it to detect stimuli in the environment such as hot substances using these artificial limbs (May & Lockard, 365). How Prosthetics and Bionic Limbs Shape the World We Live In Today                       Bionic limbs and prosthetics have immensely changed the world we live in today and it is yet predicted to contribute even more benefits in the near future.

The age of wheelchairs, conventional prostheses and the amputated being moved around places by caretakers are evidently fading away thanks to bionic limbs that can copy the workings of natural limbs and have the feel of natural skin.

The amputated can live normal lives as those with natural limbs (Schmidt, 37).                       Even in the face of tragedy that threatens the essence and vigor of the lives of victims, bionic limbs can ensure one still continues to chase their childhood ambitions whether in athletics/ sports, academia, entertainment, politics, and so on. Herr in Boston lost both legs in an accident and they went her desires to become a professional dancer. However, bionic limb technology has restored her earlier ability to walk, run and dance and live the dream.

World-renowned Olympics athlete Oscar Pistorious and Paralympics snowboarder Amy Purdy is other athletes whose dreams have been made possible in the face of difficulty and hopelessness.                       Bionic limbs are equally helping re-shape the lives of our soldiers who return from war amputated. Soldiers who lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan have greatly benefited from this technology and can now continue with their lives after their brave heroics in service to mankind. Apart from being a form of therapy on its own, bionic limbs also help ease the pressure on caretakers who are now freer to pursue other errands of the day (Steve and Simmons, 270). Cases in America                       There are numerous instances of the use of bionics in contemporary America.

Perhaps one of the most notable and memorable was during the tribute run for the Boston Marathon bombings where several of the participants in the run were those who had been amputated due to their injuries and were now on bionic limbs. Celeste Corcoran (2 prosthetic legs), Adrienne Haslet-Davis (1 prosthetic leg), Heather Abbot and Erika Brannock were all able to finish the race because of bionic limbs. Nearly 18,000 limb amputations are performed in the United States alone on a yearly basis.

Within the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, statistics indicate that over 3,000 soldier amputations were carried out in the period between 2000 and 2010 as a result of the war. A huge number of these amputees have accepted and qualified for bionic limbs and the outcome of the procedures indicates a general satisfaction with the bionic limbs and their functionality amongst the users (Schmidt, 78).                       Other beneficiaries of bionic limbs in America include, among others, Igor Spetic, 32-year-old Zac Vawter who lost a lower leg after a 2009 motorcycle accident, Peter Verduyn, James Polts, Benjamin Palmer, Dubois Parmelee, Marcel, and Charles Desoutter.

RIC and NWU aim to have an added 1 million amputees become beneficiaries of their first thought-controlled bionic limbs (May & Lockard, 400). Conclusion                       The field of medicine continues to elicit tremendous improvements both technologically and in terms of diagnosis and treatment of various conditions and ailments.

Bionic limbs are some of the most important advances in the field of medicine and in the life of man, in general, that is characterized by the uncertainty of accidents and disease. These advances in medicine have ensured that not only are the costs of healthcare are reduced significantly but also that the life of man on earth is increased and his wellbeing improved.                       Some of these other advances that have occurred over t5ime include advances in pregnancy management and childbirth (where things such as the ability to induce labor and the use of epidurals have ensured low maternity fatalities and infant deaths), engineering of vaccines of diseases such as polio, measles, rubella, smallpox, and so on (vaccines for HIV, malaria, and Ebola amongst others are actively being worked on with scientists optimistic of breakthroughs in the near future), birth control and protection mechanisms against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), development of superior medical imaging devices and techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), CT Scans, X-rays (ensuring improved diagnosis of diseases and tumors) and advances in understanding pathology of diseases towards a cure such as of the HIV virus, cancer and Ebola.

Medicine itself is a dynamic field and in the next half-century, the world of medicine will be far superior completely different from what is presently (Dryden, 13).


Connolly, Christine. “Prosthetic hands from Touch Bionics.” Industrial Robot: An International Journal, 35.4 (2008): 290 – 293. Print

Dougherty, H. Steve and Simmons, L. Richard. “Infections in bionic man: The pathobiology of infections in prosthetic devices—Part II.” Current Problems in Surgery, 19.6 (2002): 269 – 318. Print

Dryden, Matthew. “Prosthetic joint infection: managing infection in a bionic era.” The Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy, 69.1 (2014): 13. Print

May, J. Bella & Lockard, A. Margery. Prosthetics & Orthotics in Clinical Practice: A Case Study Approach. New York: F. A. Davis Company, 2011. Print

Schmidt, Charles. “The bionic material.” Nature, 483.7389 (2012): 37. Print

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