Hand Grasp


The FES hand grasp system stimulates muscles and nerves to produce movement of the paralyzed hand. Programmed to activate the muscles in a coordinated manner, the stimulation can provide a variety of functional grasp patterns.

FES offers advantages over other assistive devices for reaching and grasping, including easy application, increased versatility, and prevention of muscle atrophy by using the body’s own power. Grasping and reaching with FES may allow individuals to more independently perform activities like eating, drinking, brushing their teeth, and using the phone or computer.

Research program screening includes a review for possible tendon transfers. Tendon transfer, a conventional type of hand surgery, may be performed to provide improved or additional hand function. These surgeries can be performed in Cleveland or at many hospitals around the country.


Implanted Myoelectric Control for Restoration of Hand Function in Spinal Cord Injury

Purpose: Develop and test systems that enable people with tetraplegia (also called quadriplegia) to use their hands for daily activities such as eating, writing, brushing teeth, opening a wallet, using a cell phone, etc. An implanted stimulator is used to activate the muscles that are paralyzed. The user controls the stimulation by contracting muscles that are not paralyzed, such as the shoulder, elbow or wrist muscles.

Objective: This program is for people who have a cervical level spinal cord injury and cannot use their hands for daily function. The stimulation system can be tailored to each individual in order to maximize the function that they can obtain. Even individuals who only have very limited neck movement may be able to gain some benefit from the implanted device. This program uses electronic stimulators and sensors that are placed inside the body, very similar to a pacemaker. The implanted system includes electrodes, which are placed underneath the skin and into the muscles that are paralyzed. Very small electrical currents are used to cause the muscles to contract. The electrodes can be placed on any muscle that is paralyzed.

Detailed program information and criteria available at http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00583804

Dr. Kevin Kilgore Hand Grasp System


Left: Functional task performed with hand grasp system ON
Right: Functional task performed with hand grasp system OFF


Functional task performed with E-stim system OFF


Functional task performed with E-stim system ON


Principal Investigators: Kevin Kilgore, PhD
Contact: Anne Bryden, OTR/L
Contact Number: (216) 957-3657
Contact Email: amb31@case.edu