A victim of the 7/7 bombing has been given a new lease on life with a battery-operated prosthetic arm that fuses metal and flesh.
Cyborgs have long been a staple of the sci-fi genre, but Kira Mason, who lost an arm in the London terror attacks, has become a real-life Bionic Woman with a pioneering prosthetic limb.
The procedure, called intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthesis, or ITAP, encourages the patient's tissue to fuse with a titanium rod fitted into the bone and does away with the need for the cumbersome straps and sockets normally associated with prosthesis, as well as avoiding the infection and pressure sores that have occurred with previous attempts to fuse metal and bone.
The prosthetic itself is operated by flexing muscles in the upper arm and allows Mrs. Mason to grip objects with a surprising degree of precision.
"It's taken a bit of getting used to but now I can control my arm much better as well - I can hold both a knife and fork to eat and even do delicate tasks such as holding a squidgy cake or opening a packet of butter without squashing it," she said.
Norbert Kang, the plastic surgeon who carried out the procedure is hopeful that this technique will benefit many more people in the future, saying, "We've been able to prove that we can get osteocutaneous integration - that's to say the soft tissue fuses with the surface of the metal... We can create a new generation of reconstruction."