Prosthetic Functionality


Alatheia client demonstrating prosthetic function
A client demonstrating how she uses her finger prostheses to lassoFrom what our clients tell us, the function our prostheses provide changes their lives in a dramatic way. Essentially they are “life changing”. However, function for one person is not always the same for another person. Each person is carefully evaluated to determine their individual needs. After determining the individual’s needs, the prosthesis is custom made to perform these needed functions.

Our prostheses are extremely functional because not only do they increase our client’s ability, but the prostheses are also comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Many of our clients will not even think about leaving their house without their prosthesis! Our clients have become functional in their jobs and daily lives in ways they could not with a hook or any other visually obvious prosthesis. The true to life qualities of our prostheses enable our clients to be secure in themselves. Instead of being distracted by other peoples’ reaction to their prosthesis or amputation, their security and peace of mind enables them to live happy and productive lives.

Some people think of functionality purely in terms of active prehension (ability to grasp).  Only a hook, myoelectric or body powered prosthesis will perform prehension successfully.  Covering a myoelectric or body-powered prosthesis with our custom skin can actually aid in prehension by allowing the hand to grasp objects better. This is accomplished through the inherent high friction qualities of the skin.

Besides active prehension, there are 4 critical categories of prosthetic function in hand prostheses, explained below:[/cs_text][x_accordion][x_accordion_item title=”Proprioceptive Function” open=”true”]Our prostheses provide proprioceptive function in finger and hand prostheses by allowing for the transfer of vibration to the residual limb. Since the prostheses are custom made to each patient, vibration from the fingers or distal end of the prostheses are successfully transferred to the nerve endings in the wearer’s residual limb. This type of function is especially helpful for individuals who need to type on a computer.[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”Emotional Function” open=”false”]The legitimacy of psychological damage in amputees stemming from their amputation (either traumatic or congenital) has been grossly underestimated. Many amputees avoid public places, hide their residual limb or even avoid employment opportunities due to their disfigurement. Extremely life-like prostheses, such as ours, are the only type of prostheses that will fulfill this important need for emotional function. Unfortunately, lifelike prostheses have been unfairly lumped in the same category as unnecessary cosmetic surgery and even cosmetics (make up). The true value of a highly realistic prosthesis is often not recognized until someone becomes a victim of disfigurement themselves.[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”Passive – Active Function” open=”false”]This can be defined as allowing or helping a user to perform tasks that do not require active prehension yet are active due to the wearers movement of their hand/prosthesis. Our prostheses can provide passive-active function in many different ways. For example: adjusting the fingers of a hand prosthesis to hold a glass or pencil, or using the prosthesis to hold a shopping bag, move a steering wheel, hold groceries, move papers on a desk, hold down an object while using the sound hand, etc. In these cases a hand prostheses that actively grasps is not needed. Another benefit is its amazing “grabbing” capability (due to a high friction surface.)

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”Vocational Function” open=”false”]Many people come to us for a prosthesis because they need it for their career. For example, many actors cannot get jobs if they have a disfigurement. Medical doctors also find our prostheses helpful in providing the necessary ease that their patients lack when they are aware of their prosthesis or disfigurement. The career fields that our prostheses benefit are countless, for example, cashiers and bank tellers benefit from vocational function due to the public nature of the job. However, even unemployed amputees benefit because a realistic prosthesis provides Psychological / Emotional Function and therefore allows them confidence in seeking better career opportunities, while removing the distraction to others.