Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine

, Volume 24, Issue 11, pp 2635–2638 | Cite as

Can we regrow a human arm? A negative perspective from an upper-limb surgeon



If we would like to devote time and money to the task of regrowing a human arm, we should feel free to do it, in principle. However, if we recognize a purpose in biomedical research, we must scrutinize this task in the light of a possible clinical application. We will then discover that regrowing a human arm is not only likely to be not possible, but also not required in the clinic. Bionic arms and better reconstructive surgery already provide a different, simpler and easier solution to the loss of a human arm, and should be promoted. Probably, “can we regrow a human arm?” is not the right question. Instead, we should ask, “can we restore the function of a lost human arm?”.


Nerve Growth Factor Human Hand Basal Joint Negative Perspective Morphological Construct 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
  3. 3.
    Italian National Insurance Institute for Industrial Accidents Reference Tables 2011.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
  5. 5.
    Haeckel E (1899). Riddle of the Universe at the Close of the 19th Century. Harper and Bros, New York–London 1901, translated by J. McCabe.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Tickle C. Developmental cell biology: making digit patterns in the vertebrate limb. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2006;7:45–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Williams PL, Warwick R, editors. “Gray’s anatomy, chapter 2 “Embryology”. 36th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone; 1980.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Taniuchi M, Clark HB, Johnson EM Jr. Induction of nerve growth factor receptor in Schwann cells after axotomy. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1986;83(11):4094–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sofroniew MV, Howe CL, Mobley WC. Nerve growth factor signaling, neuroprotection, and neural repair. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2001;24:1217–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hughes SM, Salinas PC. Control of muscle fibre and motoneuron diversification. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1999;9(1):54–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Carter DR, Wong M. The role of mechanical loading histories in the development of diarthrodial joints. J Orthop Res. 1988;6(6):804–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Rosenkilde P, Ussing AP. What mechanisms control neoteny and regulate induced metamorphosis in urodeles? Int J Dev Biol. 1996;40(4):665–73.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ostlie K, Lesjø IM, Franklin RJ, Garfelt B, Skjeldal OH, Magnus P. Prosthesis use in adult acquired major upper-limb amputees: patterns of wear, prosthetic skills and the actual use of prostheses in activities of daily life. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2012;7(6):479–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jensen SE, Butt Z, Bill A, Baker T, Abecassis MM, Heinemann AW, Cella D, Dumanian GA. Quality of life considerations in upper limb transplantation: review and future directions. J Hand Surg Am. 2012;37(10):2126–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chang J, Mathes DW. Ethical, financial, and policy considerations in hand transplantation. Hand Clin. 2011;27(4):553–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Clement RG, Bugler KE, Oliver CW. Bionic prosthetic hands: a review of present technology and future aspirations. Surgeon. 2011;9(6):336–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orthopedic DepartmentThe Catholic University School of MedicineRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations