Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Artificial muscle peripheral nerve repair tool kit for treating neuromas

Technology #5871

This technology uses electrical stimulation and a tissue engineered artificial muscle derived from the patient to treatment neuromas (painful nerve growths). This reduces the pain experienced by the patient. Neuromas are often result from the nerves left behind after a limb amputation. About 1.7 million limb amputees are present in the US. About 75% of limb amputees have report severe limb pain. Thus, technology can improve the quality of life of a large patient population. The peripheral nerve repair market is estimated to generate $ 4 billion in revenue.

Tissue Engineered Muscle Calms Damaged Nerves

Nerves previously associated with muscles that severed during amputation form a neuroma. These neuromas continue to send impulses to the brain which results in pain. When these nerves are directed to grow and integrate into an artificial muscle construct, they are returned to their normal physiological state. This reduces the pain associated with neuromas. The technology can also be extended to allow control of prosthetic limbs by patients. This technology also includes specialized tools to harvest autologous muscle used for transplant. Current surgical techniques connect neuromas to existing nerves. Some newer products use tissue engineered scaffolds to heal the damaged nerves. However, these methods often do not provide significant pain relief to patients. This technology may return the nerves to a state closer to their original pre-amputated state of being muscle associated.

Applications

  • Treat neuromas
  • Control prosthetic limbs
  • Treat distal nerve injuries

Advantages

  • Reinnervation to address nerve problem
  • Removes innervation competition
  • Multiple Components including muscle harvester tool for ease of surgical use
  • Biological material encapsulation for improved tissue integration
  • Electrical stimulation to alleviate pain through desensitization