How Do Prosthetics Work?
By Mona Lee
Prosthetics encompass a wide array of artificial devices that work by replacing, or acting as extensions of, body parts that may have been damaged or are missing due to an accident, disease, birth defect, or as a result of a traumatic injury such as commonly occurs when members of the military are involved in combat operations. They are typically attached to a healed stump, wound, tissue, or bone by a variety of methods to enable restoration of lost physical function.
TYPES OF PROSTHETICS.
Prosthetic enhancement devices include four basic kinds of artificial limbs – transtibial for below-the-knee amputations, transfemoral for replacing a leg missing above the knee, transradial for arm replacement below the elbow, and transhumeral for above-the-elbow amputations. There are also prosthetic feet, knee joints, hands, and other smaller prosthetic components, sometimes implanted with biosensors or electrodes to detect temperature and other sensations.
You can buy Prosthetics online or from a retailer “off the rack,” or have a device custom made and fitted which often is more comfortable, realistic, and efficient, although significantly more expensive, especially considering prosthetics experience wear and tear and must be replaced approximately every 3 to 4 years.
INNOVATIONS IN PROSTHETIC DESIGN.
Significant technological advancements that have been made in recent years have enabled prosthetic devices to move beyond traditional heavy static components to be more flexible and dynamic. Many are now constructed with modern materials, including carbon fiber, PVC, and silicone, resulting in prosthetics that are lightweight, durable, and more natural with electronics frequently integrated into many of the powered devices, such as fine-tuned robotic, neural, or myoelectric controls, which involve the conversion of muscular movements into electrical signals that trigger limb movement.
BENEFITS REALIZED FROM PROSTHETICS.
There are many potential advantages that can be gained from the use of prosthetics for restored capacity which vary depending on the situation. A disabled individual with limited mobility may be largely confined to a cumbersome wheelchair and their home, socially isolated, self-conscious in public, and suffering with depression due to their circumstances. A prosthetic aid that affords greater freedom can help provide substantial relief.
For example, with a newfound or renewed ability to drive a car, take a walk, climb stairs, pick up a phone, or perform other important activities of daily living, the recipient of a prosthetic device may feel empowered and motivated, more independent and less reliant on others, develop a positive attitude, regain a sense of relative normalcy, become healthier from living a more active lifestyle, and begin to participate again in a wider range of recreational, employment, and household tasks that can result in greater overall satisfaction, well-being, and improved quality of life.