A man has chosen to have his hand cut off so that he can have a bionic arm fitted after he lost use of it in a motorbike accident.
The 26-year-old, a Serbian living in Austria known only as Milo, was severely injured in the collision in which he also hurt his leg and shoulder.
He was in his home country on holiday in 2001 when he smashed into a lamppost and although his leg fully recovered, his forearm and hand did not.
Ten years later he has gone under the surgeons knife and he will have a bionic hand fitted to his stump in several weeks time.
The new hand will be controlled by nerve signals in his arm and the amputation, performed by Viennese surgeon Professor Oskar Aszmann, is only the second voluntary one to have taken place.
‘The operation will change my life,’ he told BBC News.
‘I live 10 years with this hand and it cannot be (made) better. The only way is to cut this down and I get a new arm.’
The hand can ‘pinch and grasp’ in response to signals sent by the brain that would have powered movement in his real hand and it was manufactured by German prosthetics company Otto Bock.
Prof Aszmann said: ‘Milo is now 26 years old and he wants to go on with his life. To biologically reconstruct a hand for him would be a never-ending story and in the end he would still have a non-functional hand.
‘It is in the patient’s interest to provide him with a solution he can live with properly and successfully and so I have no problem with cutting off his hand.’
After his accident his leg healed but his right shoulder suffered from what is known as a ‘brachial plexus’ leaving his right arm paralysed.
Prof Aszmann took nerve tissue from his leg and managed to restore arm movement, but his hand remained unusable.
More muscle and nerve tissue was put into his forearm but while this failed to work it did boost brain signals to his forearm making it possible for him to use a bionic arm.
Milo decided to have the prosthetic arm fitted after using a similar to his dysfunctional hand so that he could see what it was like to have a bionic arm.
He found it so helpful that he opted for the rare procedure.
It was only last year that an Austrian called Patrick became the first patient in the world to decide to have his hand amputated.
The 24-year-old lost the use of his left hand after he was electrocuted three years before. He said he was delighted to experience movement in his new limb moments after it was fitted.
Patrick can now open a bottle quickly and tie his own shoelace with his current prosthesis, which has two sensors fitted over nerves within the lower arm.
However, he is now testing a new hand from Otto Bock that has six sensors giving improved motor function.amputation, bionic arm, brachial plexus, Otto Bock, prosthesis, prosthetic