Upper Limb Prosthetics

There are three main types of upper limb prosthetic fittings: body-powered, myoelectric and hybrid, which is a combination of the other two.

Body-powered systems use a harness with cables to move the prosthesis. By engaging larger muscles, the cables can open and close a hook or hand, as well as an elbow or shoulder joint.

With myoelectric systems, the prosthesis actually takes advantage of the natural signals that your muscles generate when they are used. Small sensors, known as electrodes, measure and amplify these muscle (or ‘myoelectric’) signals and are used to activate various functions of the prosthesis, such as opening or closing the hand. Batteries are used to power the motors that make these movements.

Hybrid systems take advantage of both systems. A hybrid system may have a myoelectrically controlled hand and wrist, with a body-powered elbow joint.

Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Myoelectic systems have the advantage of using the remnant muscles originally used, for example, for opening and closing the hand, while body-powered systems have to use muscle groups that were not originally intended for those actions. Myoelectric systems may also look more cosmetic, with that trade-off that it may not be as rugged as a body-powered system.

The goal of rehabilitation training with a physical therapist is to help the amputee gain as much mobility and independence as possible. An occupational therapist will teach every amputee how to use and care for their prosthesis properly, including how to put the prosthesis on and taking it off.

Thanks to constantly advancing technology, the latest prosthetic systems feature astonishing capabilities. With expert recommendations from our team each patient will be provided with relevant components and systems to match individualized goals; with considerations in prosthetic design, functional training, programming, and adaptive equipment.