Challenges to clinical deployment of upper limb neuroprostheses

Ronald Triolo, Roger Nathan, Yasunobu Handa, Michael Keith, Randal R. Betz, Sara Carroll, Carole Kantor, P. Hunter Peckham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The technology for functional neuromuscular stimulation (FNS) as a means of providing upper limb function to people with tetraplegia has been under development by three clinical research groups for almost two decades. This paper presents the current status of the clinical trials of three FNS systems: a noninvasive system built into a cosmetic forearm splint, a 30- channel percutaneous system, and an 8-channel implantable system. The complexity of FNS systems and the unique characteristics of the individuals to whom they are applied combine to create many clinical and technical challenges that must be addressed before the devices can be deployed. The emerging challenges to widespread clinical introduction of FNS systems for hand and arm function are identified and analyzed. In addition to the demands of designing and conducting the clinical trials to satisfy regulatory requirements, the lack of knowledge, skepticism, and complacency on the part of potential FNS recipients, as well as of rehabilitation professionals, must be overcome through education and careful consideration of economic and societal factors in the design of clinical systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-122
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 1996


  • FES
  • FNS
  • neuroprosthesis
  • technology assessment
  • tetraplegia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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