Researchers surveyed people with amputations to establish their willingness to undergo surgery that would restore their sense of touch and provide better movement control and found substantial interest, according to the study published in Expert Review of Medical Devices.

Younger age and poorer mental health were associated with increased interest in both types of surgery. Infection as a cause of amputation was associated with increased interest in surgery to restore a sense of touch. Long-term surgical risks were considered the most unacceptable risks, and device durability and comfort and improved functional abilities were rated the most important benefits.

A telephone survey was administered to 808 veterans, and multivariate logistic regression identified factors associated with willingness to consider surgery. The researchers concluded that 41.8 percent of respondents with unilateral amputations and 40.6 percent with bilateral amputations were willing to consider surgery for touch; 49 percent of all participants were willing to consider surgery for control.

People who were 65-75 and older than 75 years old were 0.42 and 0.19 as likely as those who were 18-45 were to consider surgery for touch. Those people with better mental health were 0.47 as likely as those with worse mental health, and those with infection etiology were 1.7 as likely as those without.

People who were 65-75 and older than 75 years old were 0.28 and 0.12 as likely as those who were 18-45 to consider surgery for control.

Users of myoelectric prosthetic devices were 2.16 as likely as users of body-powered devices and persons with better mental health were 0.61 as likely as those with worse mental health were to consider surgery for control.

The paper was funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, through the Orthotics and Prosthetics Outcomes Research Program Prosthetics Outcomes Research Award and the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs.

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