Prosthetic Options To Choose From

Health & Medical Blog

If you are in the market for a prosthetic arm, you are likely trying to decide between a body-powered and an electrically powered prosthesis. While the decision largely depends on your specific physical circumstances, you may want to understand how these mechanisms work in order to make a better choice.

Body-Powered Prosthetics

A body-powered prosthetic uses a system of cables and pulleys in order to move your new arm how you want to. This is a good basic option for those who have control over the rest of their body parts since it is the cheapest option. There is often a huge lapse in one's ability to complete tasks that require fine motor skills, since each action must be very intentional and obvious. Often cables and pulleys are put around the shoulders, back, or chest in order to move the arm, in addition to some manual controls. Body-powered prosthetics work best for people who still have a large portion of their arm since the prosthetic takes a bit of leverage in order to work. 

Electrically Powered Prosthetics

A more expensive option, electrically powered prosthetics stimulate the muscles that are left on the residual arm to cause action. These actions are usually quite smooth and natural-looking, which is usually a huge goal of prosthetics. This muscle stimulation is achieved with electrical impulses that are translated into movement. It can be difficult to adjust to the use of electrical prosthetics since they take a lot of practice to use efficiently. It is important to note that these prosthetics must be charged every so often in order to maintain their power.  

Hybrid Prosthetics

Hybrid prosthetics are a combination of electrically powered and body-powered tools. These prosthetics usually work the best for above-elbow amputations since together they allow the greatest ease of use and functionality. Hybrid prosthetics are usually a bit cheaper than exclusively electrically powered prosthetics, though not by much. Insurance may cover some types of prosthetics. Talk to your doctor to find out how to get your prosthetic covered.  

In conclusion, your decision for which type of prosthetic to get may depend on your physical capabilities. If you are unable to work the cables associated with body-powered prosthetics, you should probably go with a hybrid or electrically powered prosthetic. It is a good idea to consult with a prosthesis expert near you before you make any decisions. Don't settle until you find the prosthetic that works best for you. 

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