Experience with Electric Prostheses for the Partial Hand Presentation
Limb deficiency distal to the wrist represents a common presentation, yet a difficult level to treat with a functional prosthesis. (1) Historically, prosthetic treatment has been limited due to the lack of acceptable electric prosthetic options. Poor results were attributed to challenges including functional limitations of prosthetic technology, patient discomfort, cosmetics and absence of tactile sensation. (2) Until the late 1990s, the lack of acceptable electric prosthetic options as well as concise treatment parameters limited prosthetic treatment. John Michael, M Ed, CPO, FAAOP in the early 90s precisely described the challenge when stating, “The dilemma facing physicians and prosthetists is to determine when our admittedly limited prosthetic armamentarium will add a measure of function to diminish the substantial loss faced by the partial-hand amputee.” (3) As the specialty of upper limb prosthetics realizes the attention of many different research endeavors, advances in upper limb technology once only found in the research laboratory or in the minds of idealists are beginning to evolve toward commercial availability. These current and future additions to the prosthetic field create a challenge. With the renewed focus on the partial hand level, variables such as residual limb presentation, surgical results, and anatomical stability point to the need for concise treatment parameters.
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