Updated: May 4, 2020
Losing a limb can be devastating, the physical and psychological struggles that come with it make it such a hard process. Scientists have been working for a long time to enhance the quality and functions of prosthetic limbs to make it look more realistic and help the sufferers in their journey.
The choice of material can be decided by the amputee, however the majority of the time the prosthetist selects the material according to the position and the wound. The goal is to use a lightweight material that performs a good function. Some of the material include:
Wood and Rubber were part of early prosthetics and are not used much now.
Plastics (Polypropylene, Polyurethane, Acrylics, and Polyethylene)
Lightweight materials (Titanium and aluminum)
Apart from this, there is certain wheeled prosthetic specially designed for injured pets including cats, dogs, rabbits, pigs, turtles, etc.
Prosthetic limbs have 3 parts including interface, components, and cover:
Made up of a socket and rigid frame. The socket is made of plastic or metal and gets attached to the person whereas the rigid frame made up of graphite gives support to the socket. Between the socket and the limb is a liner that is usually made of silicone and helps to provide cushioning of the socket and reduce friction. The liner needs to be cleaned and can be changed frequently.
The interface may include a suspension system to hold the prosthesis in place. The suspension system may include:
Suction valve: When the socket is put in the residual limb, air moves out through an opening making it hard for socket to stay in place. A one-way suction closes that opening and forms a seal.
Liners with pin: Liners are locked to the socket by a pin to make it stay. However, since the pin comes in contact with the residual limb, it causes irritation and inflammation of limb.
Belt and harness: people who don’t have good results with suction cup or locking pin are given a belt or harness to make their socket stay in place although, this causes increase rigidity and may impair movement
These are the working part of the prosthesis, meaning the artificial device that acts as a lost part. It could be feet, toes or joints like hip or knee joint. Components have prosthesis have been advanced a lot, previously made by hydraulic or body-powered, are now replaced by microprocessors. The new bionic prosthesis is made to work just like natural limbs, they move by thinking and this is made possible by modifying the nerve that went through the amputated limb.
Some people prefer to have the component enclosed by a plastic foam cover. The foam is enclosed by realistic covering depending on how customized it is and if it is made by artisans. Although, as mentioned cover is individual choice, a lot of people especially athlete don’t prefer cover.
Adjusting to a new prosthetic can be very challenging and can be overcome with a mutual relationship between you and your prosthetist. The prosthetist will help you with getting a comfortable design for you but in the end, you have to live with it and hence need to stay patient and don’t lose hope in the process.
If you have any questions about Prosthetics or interested in using our services please give us a call at 314-492-0080. We have 3 convenient locations; St. Louis MO, Cape Girardeau MO and Springfield IL. We'd love to hear your thoughts - so please leave your comments below.