Priscille Deborah, 46, lives near Albi where she exercises her passion for painting.


P. Deborah

  • Priscille Deborah was operated on thanks to TMR surgery on November 21, 2018 at the Jules-Verne clinic in Nantes.

  • It was then a first in France.

    A second operation is scheduled for March 19 at the same clinic.

  • The Albigensian mother has found fluid gestures on a daily basis.

It was considered a "medical feat", a "gamble" even, since it had never been practiced in France and remains rare in the world.

A little over two years after the very first installation of a bionic arm, a second operation of the same nature will be performed on March 19 at the Jules-Verne clinic in Nantes, announces the health establishment.

The objective will be the same: to allow an amputee patient, in this case a 41-year-old man, to benefit from a prosthesis that he can control by thought.

The severed nerves of his stump will be reactivated to transmit to the robotic arm the movements commanded by the brain.

Priscille Deborah, 46, was the first to undergo this innovative surgical procedure called TMR (

Targered muscle reinnervation


This mother of a family living in the Tarn remembers it with emotion.

“I was excited but at the same time I knew there were risks.

Those linked to a big operation, of course, but above all the risk that it will not work.

I had been waiting for five years.

I had high hopes.

The project leader, Edward de Keating Hart, a surgeon for the hand and peripheral nerves, does not deny the "enormous pressure".

“It's a complex, very specific surgery.

We had been preparing for it for a long time, we had announced it throughout France.

You shouldn't miss it.


"His progress is spectacular"

Today, at the end of two years of “hyper demanding” rehabilitation in Nantes, the experience is considered “a success”.

Priscilla wears her new prosthesis daily and has recovered from gestures that they no longer performed.

“I can cook, cut meat, put away the dishes, put a piece of clothing on a hanger, unseal an envelope… I can do sport, badminton, horseback riding.

It's enormous.

Nothing to do with my old prosthesis that I no longer wore because the use was so complicated and tiring ”, confides the one who lost two legs and her right arm during an“ accident of life ”in 2006.

The painter, who lives on his passion, also uses his arm stuffed with electronics to hold pots or handle tubes, before, she hopes, "to paint again with the right arm".

“His progress is spectacular.

She has natural, fluid movements, almost as if she had found a member.

It rewards a determined personality, ”says Edward de Keating Hart.

The results were not immediate after the operation.

They required daily sessions of fine rehabilitation, physiotherapy, muscle strengthening, adapted exercises, prosthesis adjustments.

Often with progress, sometimes with failures.

“There were a few moments of discouragement but I was carried by an extremely positive medical team.

I had no right to give up.

Each new step taken was a victory, ”says the 40-year-old.

The cost of the prosthesis remains a "big problem"

Considering herself "lucky", Priscille Deborah, who appreciates the "positive image" conveyed by the word bionic, now devotes part of her time to sharing her story, giving lectures, informing people with disabilities, especially those with disabilities. waiting for a prosthesis.

His story will even be the subject of a book to be published in early April (

Une vie à inventer


“A pioneer was needed.

I now hope that there will be plenty of other beneficiaries and that my testimony will be useful to them ”, explains the Albigensian.

Since the operation, Keating Hart's doctor has indeed been called upon by “many patients” candidates.

Everyone would like to see TMR technology democratize.

But they come up against an obstacle: the high cost of the bionic prosthesis.

About 80,000 euros on average, poorly reimbursed by health insurance.

Priscille Deborah, whose elbow-articulated hand equipment cost double, had to count on the generosity of donors and patrons to fund.

"The devices are expensive, but the care must also improve," insists the practitioner from the Jules-Verne clinic.

The cost to patients greatly limits the possibilities.

We can offer them surgery but with less good equipment than the last prosthesis designed for this surgery.

This is the big problem.

"This technology is not a luxury, however, defends Priscille Deborah.

It allows the disabled person to gain autonomy.

And therefore to be better integrated into society.




Priscille will receive a unique bionic arm in France


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