Mom bitten by shark getting high-tech prosthetic arm

An update on the Concord mother of three, who survived a vicious shark attack.

CONCORD, N.C. -- The recovery continues for a Concord mom, who survived a vicious shark attack.

After a shark attack left her without part of an arm, Tiffany Johnson is making her visits to OrthoCarolina. She met with her surgical team Thursday, as she will have her arm replaced with a prosthetic one.

"I was excited for this appointment because it's the first time after surgery where we can assess things and see where I'm at and if I'm looking good," Johnson said.

In fact, doctors say she will be able to control her new arm with her mind.

"There's a new surgery, and it's call targeted muscle reinnervation," said Dr. Glenn Gaston of OrthoCarolina. "What we do is take the nerves that used to control the hand that have been amputated, so we can take that nerve into a different muscle so when her brain tells her thumb to move that muscle will fire."

Her surgeons will use the nerves left inside her arm to communicate with a new prosthetic.

"Now the prosthetic itself fits like a glove," said Bryan Loeffler of OrthCarolina. "So it can be taken off, and on. The sensors are placed strategically around the arm so they can pick up the signals generated when her muscle contracts."

Johnson will eventually move each finger by just thinking about it, much like her old one.

"It is a step-by-step process, but I'm like OK, when can I get a prosthetic arm so I can try this," Johnson said. "In due time, it will be there."

A brave mom closer to getting a new arm, with medical advancements not possible only years ago.

"She's thankful to be alive and she's really looking at everything like a glass half full," Loeffler said. "She's got unbelievable spirituality that helps to drive her and she's not going to let this stop her."

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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