Surgeons in Australia have managed to restore arm function in paralyzed patients, allowing them to feed themselves, use tools and handle electronic devices, according to the results of a groundbreaking study released Friday. Thirteen young adults who had suffered spinal injuries rendering them tetraplegic underwent several operations and intense physiotherapy in the largest ever application of a technique known as nerve transfer surgery. A team of surgeons succeeded in attaching individual nerves from above the zone of the spinal injury to nerves below the trauma site. The functioning nerves were then used to stimulate paralyzed muscles below the injury zone. Each nerve transfer took around two hours of painstaking reconstruction, and the team conducted 59 overall. Two years after the procedure most participants in the trial were able to reach out their arms, open and close their palms and manipulate objects. While the nerve transfer technique is sporadically practiced, […]