High Voltage Electrical Burn to Robotic Arms – What could the future hold?

Dr Justine O’Hara1, Professor Peter Maitz1, Associate Professor Peter Haertsch1, Dr Andrea Issler-Fisher1, Professor Munjed Al Muderis1

1Dr Justine O’Hara, Sydney, Australia, 2Concord Severe Burn Injury Service, Sydney, Australia


We present the case of a 37 year old male with a high voltage conduction injury creating bilateral non-viable hands and distal forearms and very deep burns to right shoulder and right hip.

He required 7 excisional and early reconstructive operations due to ongoing necrosis, typical of high voltage injury. He required a 4 month admission with significant support due to lack of independent function.

Further reconstruction was undertaken with a combined orthopaedic team offering osseo-integration. He progressed on to left sided trans-radial and trans-ulnar osseo-integrated rods with an advanced robotic hand and forearm capable of incredible function. The right side underwent initial reconstruction to salvage the elbow but progressed to a trans-humeral osseo-integration with a hybrid robotic elbow-forearm-wrist-hand prosthesis.

This presentation pictorially follows the inspirational journey of this patient through his extensive surgical management, rehabilitation, challenges of treatment and eventual independent function.

As burns surgeons we are often challenged with the outcomes we can provide due to the severity of injury but this case demonstrates the possibilities when collaborating with technology, industry and medicine.


Dr Justine O’Hara is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in the Concord Burns Unit with an interest in biotechnologies and innovation.

She has a broad Plastic Surgery practice which she can adapt to manage challenging burns cases.

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