The Agonist-Antagonist Myoneural Interface in a Transtibial Amputation

Colin J. Harrington*, Marissa Dearden, John Richards, Matthew Carty, Jason Souza, Benjamin K. Potter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background:The agonist-antagonist myoneural interface (AMI) technique at the time of transtibial amputation involves the use of agonist-antagonist muscle pairs to restore natural contraction-stretch relationships and to improve proprioceptive feedback when utilizing a prosthetic limb1.Description:Utilizing the standard incision for a long posterior myofasciocutaneous flap, the lateral and medial aspects of the limb are dissected, identifying and preserving the superficial peroneal and saphenous nerve, respectively. The tendons of the tibialis anterior and peroneus longus are transected distally to allow adequate length for the AMI constructs. After ligation of the anterior tibial vessels, the deep peroneal nerve is identified and tagged to create a regenerative peripheral nerve interface (RPNI). The tibia and fibula are cut approximately 15 cm from the medial joint line, facilitating dissection of the deep posterior compartment and ligation of the peroneal and posterior tibial vessels. The tendons of the lateral gastrocnemius and tibialis posterior are transected distally, and the amputation is completed. The extensor retinaculum is harvested from the residual limb along with multiple 2 × 3-cm free muscle grafts, which will be used for the RPNI constructs. The retinaculum is secured to the tibia with suture anchors, and AMI pairs of the lateral gastrocnemius and tibialis anterior as well as the tibialis posterior and peroneus longus are constructed. Separate RPNIs of the major lower-extremity nerves are performed, and the wound is closed in a standard layered fashion.Alternatives:An isometric myodesis of the gastrocnemius without coaptation of agonist-antagonist muscle pairs can be performed at the time of transtibial amputation.Rationale:The AMI technique restores natural agonist-antagonist relationships at the time of transtibial amputation to increase proprioceptive feedback and improve prosthetic control. These outcomes contrast with those of a traditional isometric myodesis, which prevents proprioceptive communication from the residual limb musculature to the central nervous system. Additionally, the AMI technique allows for concentric and eccentric muscular contractions, which may contribute to the maintenance of limb volume and aid with prosthetic fitting, as opposed to the typical limb atrophy observed following standard transtibial amputation1,2. With the development and availability of more advanced prostheses, the AMI technique offers more precise control and increases the functionality of these innovative devices.Expected Outcomes:Early clinical outcomes of the AMI technique at the time of transtibial amputation have been promising. In a case series of the first 3 patients who underwent the procedure, complications were minor and consisted of 2 episodes of cellulitis and 1 case of delayed wound healing1. Muscle activation measured through electromyography demonstrated an improved ability to limit unintended muscular co-contraction with attempted movement of the phantom limb, as compared with patients who underwent a standard transtibial amputation1. Additionally, residual limb volume was maintained postoperatively without the need for substantial prosthetic modifications.Important Tips:The tendons of the tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, tibialis posterior, and lateral gastrocnemius should be transected as distal as possible to allow adequate length for creation of the AMI constructs.Approximately 2 × 3-cm free muscle grafts are harvested from the amputated extremity for RPNI3.Smooth tendon-gliding through the synovial tunnels should be confirmed before closure. If necessary, muscle debulking can improve gliding and decrease the size of the residual limb.Harvesting the extensor retinaculum for synovial tunnels has been our preferred method, although we acknowledge that other grafts options such as the tarsal tunnel are available1.Acronyms & Abbreviations:RPNI = regenerative peripheral nerve interfaceAMI = agonist-antagonist myoneural interfaceEMG = electromyographic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number00038
JournalJBJS Essential Surgical Techniques
Issue number3
StatePublished - 24 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


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