Our object is to develop a reliable, implantable and closed-loop functional electrical stimulator (FES) hybrid system for safe prolonged standing in paraplegic individuals. Open-loop FES systems rapidly induce muscle fatigue that limits paraplegic standing to less than 20 and typically 10 min. Since December 1991, a paraplegic male (CS: 23 years old, T10 level, Asia: A) has been implanted with the first Nucleus FES-22 channel stimulating system (Cochlear Ltd., Lane Cove, N.S.W., Australia). Epineural platinum disc electrodes (2.5 mm) were placed on branches of the femoral, gluteal and sciatic nerves, which can be activated to produce controlled lower extremity movements for exercise and standing. No medical complications have occurred during these 5½ years of implantation. The ankles are stabilized with Andrews'' ankle-foot braces, the knees are free to flex. With bilateral knee goniometers fitted to sense a 10° angle flexion, this hybrid closed-loop stimulation system allows the patient to achieve safe uninterrupted standing for over 60 min. The stimulator has needed to be activated ''on'' for 8% (range: 3–17%) of the standing times, preventing muscle fatigue, with little or no changes found in the vital signs. The patient can manipulate and transfer objects at arm length up to 2.2 kg with good stability. New, less obstrusive sensors are currently being tested for a safer and more reliable closed-loop system.

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