Below is an overview of options available, though this should not be considered an all-inclusive list. For more information, contact the prosthetic clinic nearest you.
Some individuals choose not to wear a prosthetic limb. They find that they can perform all needed tasks without the assistance of a prosthesis. Many individuals with congenital anomalies are extremely functional without the use of a prosthesis. Some feel that a prosthesis eliminates normal tactile sensory feedback. Many considerations factor into the decision about wearing a prosthesis.
Individuals with limb loss may not need or desire a dynamic or active prothesis. A passive prosthesis can provide a restoration of body symmetry. Most designs are passive (no active control). We design our restoration prostheses to provide assistance and bi-manual function. A prosthesis adds weight to the human torso, which balances the spine for better alignment. It also offers protection to the residual limb. These types of prostheses can be designed very simply or can be dramatic life-like restorations.
Advantages to passive designs include: little or no harnessing for suspension for upper extremity prostheses, low maintenance, and durable materials. Disadvantages of passive prosthesis include: no active control of hand or joints and limitation of activities. Passive silicone restorations used in partial hands can help to restore some limited functional capabilities.
Myo-electric / External Powered Prosthesis
This prosthetic limb design can eliminiate the need for a harness system to capture motion in order to control the terminal devices and elbow. There are numerous methods and control mechanisms which relay information to the termninal device hand and elbow. Myo-electrics use surface electrodes to pick up signals from the remaining musculature in the residual limb. These signals tell the terminal device, wrist rotator or elbow to open or close or move up, down or rotate. If muscle signals are not an option, additional inputs are available. Most new technology uses some type of micro processor which allows the prosthetist to customize and refine the signals for operation of the prosthesis.
Externally powered prostheses use state-of-the-art batteries that allow the prosthesis to be used for up to three days between charges. These prostheses are quite dependable and durable and the cosmetic look can be closely matched to resemble the sound side. There are many options available for hand terminal devices, wrists, elbows and control mechanisms. Advantages include an increase in grip force of the hand and the elimination or reduction of a harness surrounding the unaffected side. It also allows for an increase in functional envelope. Disadvantages may include cost, weight and less desirable use for some rough duty environments. We take time to educate you on your options and help you to make the best choice to keep you moving at the speed of your life.
Body Powered Prosthesis
Body-powered prostheses rely on the muscles of the person’s body to essentially “power” the prosthesis’ movements.
Activity Specific Prosthetic Limbs
An activity specific design prosthesis is unique to each individual and the assistance required. The design can include an adaptive or terminal device to work with existing prostheses or a complete design that would be used for patient unique environments or activity. These can be used in vocational, sports and recreational activity needs that are outside the traditional prosthetic function.