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Every year 23,500 amputees are added to the amputee population in India, of which 20,200 are males and 3,300 are females. The most common reasons for amputation are vascular complications (mainly diabetes), cancer, trauma, and birth defects. Our experienced prosthetists evaluate each patient’s unique situation in order to provide the most effective and beneficial prosthetic device. Upper Extremity prosthetics are prosthetics for the upper parts of the human body. They include artificial arms, artificial hands, prosthetics for wrists, hooks, socket, harness and elbow.

These prostheses are designed specifically for each individual and factors that go into that decision are the patient’s residual limb, their activity level, prognosis, employment and extracurricular activities as well as the patient’s specific goals for a prosthetic device. While each experience of limb loss is unique, many individuals have successfully overcome the loss or absence of a limb and regained function and a positive outlook.

arm-amputation-types

Levels of upper extremity amputations:

Prosthetic design options for upper extremity amputations:

Passive: This type of prosthesis can be used for all levels of amputation. It is used primarily to replace the body part that is missing. This promotes a healthy body image, and is also functional. For instance, a passive artificial hand can be used to hold or place objects.

Mechanical (Body Powered): This prosthesis uses body movements to operate the terminal device (artificial hand or hook.) The prosthesis is connected to the body through the use of cables and harness. Using movements of the shoulders and the arms, the person can open and close the terminal device.

Myoelectric (Externally powered): The Myoelectric uses signals from muscles of the residual limb to control the opening and closing of the terminal device (hook or hand) or elbow depending on the level of amputation. Electrodes are incorporated into the prosthetic socket and by contracting the muscles of the residual limb, electrical signals are sent to the motors which open and close the terminal device (hook or hand) or lift and lower the forearm at the elbow.

Components of upper extremity prosthetics:

Socket-The socket is the part of the prosthesis which is contact with the residual limb. It allows the various components to be mounted to the prosthesis including harnessing, elbows, wrists, terminal devices, etc.

Harness - A harness holds the device to the body so the prosthesis can be used properly. When using a body powered prosthesis, the harness is used to open or close the terminal device. Depending on the level of amputation it may also be used to lock and unlock an elbow. The harness can be worn over an undershirt to help minimize the friction between the harness and the skin. This will also help keep the harness clean.

Elbow - This part of the prosthesis allows extension and flexion of the forearm. Body powered elbows are flexed using a cable connected to the harness or by lifting and locking them with the sound limb. Electronic elbows are also available for use with myoelectric prosthetics which uses bionic technology to function.

Wrists - There are many types of wrist units that offer the user the ability to rotate his or her terminal device to any position, offer a quick disconnect of the terminal device to easily change between a hook or hand or any other type of terminal device, and also units that allow for flexion and extension of the terminal device at the wrist.

Terminal Devices - Terminal Devices – There are three main types of terminal devices for the upper limb prosthesis: hands, hooks and specialized terminal devices.

Hands - Hands can be either passive (non-functional) or functional. Functional hands can be either body powered or myoelectric.

Hooks - Hooks are used instead of traditional hands. They allow easier manipulation of objects.

Specialized terminal devices - Specialized terminal devices are customized for a sport, hobby, or profession. You could have a baseball mitt attached to the wrist or a pool/snooker rest.

Component Selection:

Patient’s limb: If someone needs an artificial hand, the doctor first has to give approval to begin the prosthetic fitting process. Then the prosthetist will take a plaster cast of the hand which will provide him/her with a model to make the artificial hand. Prior to this appointment, your prosthetist will have assessed your individual needs and goals for life as an amputee. This information is extremely important when determining which type of prosthetic device will be most suitable for your individual needs. These factors include the length and condition of your residual limb, range of motion and strength, your activity level, occupation or leisure activities, and current health status.

Occupation: The type of one’s occupation is also considered when developing a prosthetic device. Whether it is a light duty or heavy duty type of employment, our practitioners fit each patient specifically to suit their needs.

Leisure Activities: Leisure Activities: Our ultimate goal at Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics is to restore mobility and quality of life for each patient and help the individual return to an active lifestyle which includes previous hobbies, sports, and recreational activities. Prosthetic components today offer the amputee a variety of options that may help make participation in recreational activities possible. Be sure to express your goals to your prosthetist so that the most appropriate components can be selected for your prosthesis.

 

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