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Cancer Survivor Receives Bionic Arm

7 months, 1 week ago

4610  0
Posted on Dec 15, 2023, 3 p.m.

Image/Credit: Hero Arm by Open Bionics

Christa Seubert from Würzburg, Germany was recently fitted with a bionic arm after losing her arm below the elbow to cancer just under a year ago, making the 84-year-old grandmother the oldest person in the world to be fitted with a bionic arm.

Initially, Seubert thought that she had a blocked carpal tunnel, she had two operations on her right hand which caused her entire hand to become inflamed, and overnight a lump suddenly appeared between her thumb and index finger. It became apparent quickly that Seubert had aggressive cancer, and after chemotherapy failed she underwent unavoidable arm amputation to save her life. 

“It was very, very, aggressive,” said Seubert. “There was no choice. This happened on 3 January.”

Seubert tries to live an active lifestyle, enjoying a variety of hobbies such as handicrafts, cycling, gardening, and walking her dog. Although grateful for the work and dedication of those at the Erlangen University Hospital, she says that after the surgery she struggled to get back to doing her everyday activities independently, even cutting a loaf of bread and buttering it on her own was difficult. 

To get back to her everyday life, she was hoping for a lightweight prosthesis that wouldn’t weigh her down. When Seubert was fitted with a Hero Arm by the UK firm Open Bionics (founded in 2014) her life began to change as she was able to use her new bionic arm within an hour of being fitted to take her dog for a walk and enjoy a hot chocolate alongside the bank of River Main, according to Seubert’s blog on the Open Bionics website.

“For Christa, being fitted with a Hero Arm has big advantages. It’s the ease of use, the very low weight compared to other prosthetic fittings, and the ease of putting on and taking off that I think will allow her to enjoy her independence,” said Mathias Stegemann, CPO at APT Prothesen in Würzburg, who fitted Seubert.

Open Bionics' mission is to support those such as Seubert using innovative technologies to ensure each Hero Arm is custom-built and bespoke to the user. The arm uses myoelectric sensors to detect underlying muscular contractions that are generated from specific muscle groups in the arm, these contractions are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional hand movements. 

“Now, I’ll be able to butter a piece of bread on my own, cut a slice of cheese, cut an apple and hold it without it always slipping away,” says Seubert. “I won’t have to ask for anything and everything anymore.”

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.

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References/Sources/Materials provided by:

T.W. at WHN

Image/Credit: Hero Arm by Open Bionics

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