Upper extremity amputations include many types. These are finger and partial hand, wrist disarticulation, below elbow, elbow disarticulation, above elbow, shoulder disarticulation, and forequarter. Our staff will work with you to design and fit a device that is comfortable, functional and cosmetically appealing.
Upper extremity prostheses are available in a few designs. These are passive/cosmetic, body powered, myoelectric, and hybrid. All these devices require the design and fitting of a socket that your residual limb will fit into and are supported with appropriate suspension. The goal of the socket and suspension is to fit comfortably and allow you to move your arm and function safely and comfortably. Our staff will work with you and your physician to design and fit a prosthesis that best fits your needs and goals. A Passive prosthesis is designed as a lightweight cosmetic device. It is not functional other than the wrist, elbow, or shoulder. These components can be moved and positioned by the wearer for cosmetic proposes. These are worn by patients who do not require a high level of function or have a high-level amputation and only require cosmetics. A body-powered prosthesis is a device that is much more functional than a passive prosthesis. The components are controlled with a harness and cable system. The patient is trained how to move their body in a manner that allows the harness and cable system to operate the components such as the hand or elbow to provide function. Myoelectric powered prostheses are controlled by electronic signals in your muscles. Electrodes are fabricated into the socket that pick up and amplify the muscle’s electronic signal. These signals are processed in a computer in the components and are then used to control movement and speed of the components. This type of function provides the greatest amount of control, is more natural, and is not as stressful on the body as a harness and cable system. A Hybrid powered system is one that combine the use of body-powered control with myoelectric control. This type of design is usually used for high level amputees who require multiple components to function such as an elbow, hand, and wrist. Patients can control the movement and speed of the components with myoelectric electrodes but switch control from one component to another with a cable movement. There are times when a patient cannot control a device with the use of an electrode. In that case we can place switch controls into a harness. Instead of moving cables to control the components the patient will move the switch that will then operate the components in the same manner the electrode does. Our practitioners will work with you and your medical team to design and fit a prosthesis that will provide the best possible outcome for you.