Initialism, noun: TMR is an initialism for Targeted Muscle Reinnervation. It is a kind of surgery which rewires nerves from amputated limbs into neighboring muscles. In addition, sensors are implanted to control prostheses myoelectric signals from the brain. Currently, this technology is only being used for prosthetic arms.


Targeted (adj.) : being aimed or directed at

Target (noun; French targete; 15th centurysomething being aimed at

-Ed (suffix; Old English; 1779) turns a noun into an adjective

Muscle (noun; Latin mūsculus ; 1398) bundles of tissue which act to produce movement in parts of the body

Reinnervation (noun; 1880) :

Re- (prefix; French and Latin; 1605) to do again

In- (prefix; Latin in) common prefix of verbs

Nerve (noun; Latin nervus; 15th century) type of nerve connecting brain to muscles

-Ate (suffix; Latin –ātus) turns nouns into verbs

-Ation (suffix; Old French -cion) denotes the “process of” and forms nouns

The word innervate originated in 1870 and means to “supply of nerve-force from a nerve-centre to some organ or part by means of nerves; stimulation of some organ by its nerves” (OED), or simply, the supply of nerve fibers to different parts of the body.

Societal Information: Only people directly or indirectly affected by this type of surgery would now this word. It is still a very new technology so it is not expected that most people would be familiar with it. Even if they had heard it, it is a hard word to remember. The novel concept of it, though, does help with the retention of what the surgery is vaguely. Although the parts of the initialism are not new words, the technology is very recent. The first test of this was in a 2007 study. Currently, this only works for arms due to the muscles it makes of and the strength of the prosthetics. Scientists are trying to apply the same technology to legs but it is much more difficult due to the necessary strength and support of the prosthetics to hold up and move an adult. Arm nerves are reconnected into chest and shoulder muscles so that the brain activity can be sent to connection points at those locations and to the sensors and microprocessor. This increases the amount and type of signals being received. For example, typically there would be only 2 signals, but TMR allows more signals to be sent by connecting nerves from amputated muscles into the chest and shoulders. This increases function of the prostheses because additional signals such as elbow, wrist, and fingers are added. (

Survival Predictions: This is such revolutionary technology that its survival is guaranteed. As more work is done and the surgery becomes available to more people, TMR will be a more recognized word. There is no reason that it wouldn’t survive because it is already very successful. Science advances very quickly so I think the only way for this word to become obsolete is if a newer development supersedes this.

Lexicopinions: I think this word is very important because it is current with the new technologies of prosthetics. It is a word that describes a new gap in language. As new things are invented, more gaps are created. Words such as this fill that gap. Society also has a tendency to pick acronyms over phrases so it is very beneficial that this new science can be described using an acronym. The only problem I think is that by only using the acronym, people who hear TMR do not know what it actually means. Its specificity probably allows it to be generally understood in context, at least as a kind of surgery, but not any deeper understanding. Despite this, it is not important to know the exact processes or terminology of the surgery, only to know the idea it refers to. I think that this word achieves that and because this science is so important, current and life-changing, this word is likely to survive for a long time and increase in use. It would be better, though, if a new and easier word were to replace TMR. The current word is too technical and I think it would be beneficial if a different word is used so that more people can understand it. This would require a reference to prosthetics. A casual way to refer to the surgery may be robotic prosthetic surgery or myoelectric prosthetic surgery. I think it’s important to have “surgery” in the word so that the concept being referred to is clearer.

The technology is still developing and improving but it already has very promising results as shown in this video:

This word comes across as jargon because it very complex and describes very new, advanced technology. Typical students can neither identify the meaning of the acronym or how what its parts denote.

Speak Your Mind