Artificial limbs have come a long way for humans and animals in recent years. Just last month we reported on a baby elephant who got a custom-made shoe for trapping, organ transplant and restoring its quality of life. Now, in Austria, a one-year-old female bearded vulture named Mia (Zipitus barbatus) found herself without a leg, but the bird received more future organ transplants. Treated in the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, in Vienna Meduni, Mia received what was described as a “plug and play” synthesis, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports. A similar organ was created at this organization last year when they created the world’s first fully-integrated bionic arm.
Plug and play limb is a new technique known as ossification that allows the replacement limb to be directly attached to a bone with better stability in a reliable location. For this procedure, Medouni around the world decided to remove the injured hand in Vienna and replace it with Myofar. This may seem like an aggressive approach rather than being taken with wild animals but using one leg for a bearded vulture can mean the difference between life and death.
With wingspan of about 2.6 meters (7.5 feet), these are the largest flying birds in Europe and landing in heaven is an important milestone in the flight process. Moreover, these birds are employed in large quantities to feed their feet to keep their food, so it was clear that Mia would not have survived without help. Fortunately, Mia’s operation to attach an implant that could anchor bone fusion in her own leg was a success, and with some rest and rehabilitation she soon returned to her leg.
“The bird first attempted to walk after only three weeks, and after six weeks the synthesis was fully understood,” said Dr. Oscar Aszman, the median leading Medhufir’s bionic hand replacement, in a statement. “Today the bearded vulture can land again and walk with both legs, making it the first ‘bionic bird’. “This concept provides a high-quality tangible symbol, as the instability provides a direct intuitive response that allows the ultimate natural use for walking and feeding. For the first time, we have now successfully reconstructed an eagle’s limb.”
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