How Do Prosthetic Limbs Work?
Prosthetic limbs are an incredible mashup of medical science and biomedical engineering, and they change people’s lives in huge ways every day. They are also quite complicated from construction to fit and wear over a lifetime. So how exactly do prosthetic limbs work?
Fit, form and function
The professionals that create these medical devices are called prosthetists. The range of devices that are created by these professionals and used by people is also staggering from realistic looking arms and legs to specialized attachments for specific purposes. Your doctor and prosthetist will determine the right style of prosthetic limb for you that will be created in a lab for specific fit, form and function.
As your limb is being created in the lab, there will be several fittings to be sure that the dimensions of the limb are absolutely perfect. Your prosthetist will conduct these fitting and will teach you how to use the limb. Many weeks of physical therapy will be required, once the limb is complete, to teach you how to live and move fluidly with it.
The inner workings of the limb
Some prosthetic limbs are created for cosmetic reasons like arms and hands. There isn’t much fine motor function that can be achieved through prosthetics in this part of the body, yet. So, labs create them to look as real as possible while being as light as possible.
Artificial legs, on the other hand, serve a very important purpose and support a massive amount of your body weight. These limbs tend to look less realistic and the focus instead is on function. In addition, the activities that you might be doing will also dictate the limbs look, form and function.
A lifetime of practice
Once your limb has been completed by the lab, and all the fittings are over, you’ll be faced with learning to use your new prosthetic. This education will probably last a long time, and your prosthetist will remain a big part of your aftercare experience. Artificial limbs are life-changing and completely alter the quality of life of an amputee, but integrating them into your daily life will take a lifetime of practice.