Illinois Prosthetics Technology
Helping provide prosthetic care

Types of Prosthetic Devices

Prosthetics are artificial devices which are designed for the replacement of the human body part that has been missing because of birth defect or an accident. These devices are being worn on the outside of one’s body or can be implanted by means of a surgical procedure. The prosthetics are made with different materials serving the function or cosmetics purpose, or both.

Below are the different types of prosthetic devices:

Joint Prosthetics – The cartilage provides pad between the bones in the joint and this can eventually wear down over time leading the bones in rubbing against each other. This will cause severe pain as well as decreased movement. The prosthetics are usually utilized in replacing damaged joints. The knee, hip, and shoulder joints are frequently replaced with the prosthetic devices. Both of the hip as well as the shoulder are ball and socket joints. There is attachment of the round ball implant to the stem which is inserted into the upper arm bone or the thigh bone. The plastic-lined socket has its attachment to the pelvis or shoulder blade forming a new joint. In the knee, the prosthetic implants will be replacing the bottom part of the thigh bone and the top part of the tibia. The space between the bone prostheses allows them for gliding over one another similar with that of the natural knee.

arm-amputeeArm Prosthesis – Its two types include the trans-radial prosthetics which attach below the elbow and the trans-humeral prosthetics which attach to the upper arm when there is a missing elbow joint. The attachment of the body-powered arm prosthetics to the body is by means of a harness and cable. The movement of the opposite arm controls the artificial arm. Myoelectric prosthesis is another kind of artificial arm wherein the electric signal from the brain are the ones controlling it. There is attachment of electrodes inside the prosthesis to the muscles in the elbow or upper arm. Muscle movement signals the brain for the movement of the elbow joint and will do hand opening or closing or hooking at the prosthesis’ end.

prosthetic-legsLeg Prosthesis – Its two types are the trans-tibial prosthetics which are utilized in replacing parts that are below the knee and the trans-femoral prosthetics which includes the artificial knee joint that is being attached to the thigh. There are various types of leg prosthetics and the type to be used is based according to the amputation level, occupation and hobbies of the individual, resources for finances, and function expectations.

The components in making up leg prosthesis are the following:

– foot-ankle assembly – provides base of support to walk or stand and these may be solid or flexible which are located at the ankle joint; the advanced foot-ankle assembly has dynamic response which lets the person jump or run
– shank – it is the lower leg part of the prosthesis which is a central support having a soft cosmetic cover or hard outer shell
– socket – it is responsible for the distribution of pressure on the remaining leg
– suspension – it will keep the device in place

Cosmetic Prosthesis – It provides no improvement in function but is useful in improving the appearance of the individual following the body part loss. Among these devices include the ocular prostheses or artificial eyes and the silicone fingers, hands, toes, feet, and breasts. The availability of prosthetic implants is also for the correction of facial deformities from trauma or disease.

Types of Prosthetic Limbs:

Prosthesis is regarded as the artificial device replacing a body part which is missing due to a disease, trauma, or congenital conditions. It belongs to the field of science where there is fusing of the mechanical devices with the human skeleton, muscle, and nervous systems to give assistance or enhancement with the motor control.

People who live without the limbs indeed experience difficulties in both mental and physical aspects. It leads the individuals to be having feelings of inadequacy especially when they engage to daily tasks. Prosthetic limbs are considered to be the first option to choose for the rehabilitation of the amputees.

Included in the limb prostheses are the lower and upper prostheses:

Lower Extremity Prostheses – It replaces different levels of amputation including the hip disarticulation, knee disarticulation, transfemoral prosthesis, transtibial prosthesis, symes, partial foot, foot, and toe. The main subcategories include the following:

– Transtibial Prosthesis – It involves an amputation that transects the congenital anomaly or the tibia bone which results to tibial deficiency. It is an artificial limb which is used to replace a missing leg that is below the knee. Usually, transtibial amputees are able to regain normal movement because there is a big portion retaining the knee which makes movement easier. The lower extremity prosthetics are artificial limbs that are replaced at the level of the hip or lower. It is otherwise regarded as the “below the knee prosthesis”.

– Transfemoral Prosthesis – It involves an amputation that transects the congenital anomaly or femur bone which results to femoral deficiency. An artificial limb is used to replace a missing leg that is above the knee. The transfemoral amputees have hard time to regain normal movement. The amputee needs about 80 percent more energy for walking compared to a person having two whole legs because of the complexities which have associations with the knee. It is otherwise known as the “above the knee prosthesis”.

Upper Extremity Prostheses – It includes different levels of amputation such as the shoulder disarticulation, elbow disarticulation, transhumeral prosthesis, transradial prosthesis, wrist disarticulation, partial hand, full hand, partial finger, and finger.You can read more about hand prosthesis here.

The main subcategories are the following:

– Transhumeral Prosthesis – It is an artificial limb replacing a missing arm that is above the elbow. Amputees have difficult time to regain normal movement. It is otherwise referred to as the “above the elbow prosthesis”.

– Transradial Prosthesis – The artificial limb is being used in replacing a missing arm which is below the elbow. It is also regarded as the “below the elbow prosthesis”. There are two types of this kind of prosthetics which include the following:

• cable operated limbs – a harness and a cable are attached around the opposite shoulder on the arm which is damaged

• myoelectric arms – it works with the use of electrodes wherein the artificial hand will close or open as the upper arm muscles move

Prosthetic limbs are indeed valuable for the amputees because of the help they provide in restoring some of the capabilities which have been lost by the amputated limb. The prosthetic limbs may not function totally the same with biological limbs but their capabilities are able to provide great significance.

About Our Work:

We at IPT are dedicated to helping those in need of prosthetic devices lead a quality life. Our goals are to help develop cutting edge technologies to advance prosthesis development, and to ensure that people worldwide have access to life-changing limbs, braces and devices. We wish to collaborate with researchers and organizations in this field to share discoveries, and help accelerate development of quality modifications to existing products and new innovations in the field.

IPT consists of researchers, medical professionals and educators from locations throughout the U.S and Asia. We depend on volunteers to help disseminate out information. We also depend on users of prosthetics for their suggestions of modifications and improvements they have regarding day to day use of their devices. Improvement to existing technologies can only come with the help of dedicated users, medical professionals, and donors who share our vision of improving innovation in this industry.

Some vital resources for those in need of assisting finding quality care can contact the Amputee Coalition, International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics, or ISPO. Those interested in starting a career in the O&P profession can start with the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education, or NCOPE, which is an accreditation agency in this field. The educators at CNA edu provide a comprehensive list for those looking for nursing assistant registry information by state. OP careers in another resource dedicated to those interested in starting out as a medical provider in the field of O&P, Orthotics and prosthetics.

Thank you for your support of IPT, and please contact us here if you have an questions or comments about the information and materials found on this website or through our organization.