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updated:
June 13, 2022
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by
Lidia Montelongo

What You Should Know Before Getting a Prosthetic Arm

Prosthetics

A prosthetic arm can help those who have undergone an arm amputation continue to live a full and happy life. They are designed to mimic the functionality and appearance of a real arm. If you’ve recently had an arm amputation or you’re going to have one soon, PrimeCare Orthotics & Prosthetics outlined additional information that you should know ahead of time.

How Does a Prosthetic Arm Work?

A prosthetic arm is made from different components that work in tandem to provide the necessary functionality for the patient. Here are the different components of the arm:

  • Limb: The limb is made from durable and lightweight materials so it’s comfortable yet sturdy.
  • Socket: The socket connects your residual limb to the prosthesis. It’s important this is a comfortable fit to improve the functionality and wearability of the prosthetic arms. Each prosthetic is made from a personalized mold to perfectly fit your residual limb.
  • Suspension system: This is the component that secures the prosthetic to the limb. There are different types of suspension systems including an elastic sleeve, a suction socket, a harness, or a self-suspending socket.
  • Control system: As the brain sends signals through nerve pulses to move the arm, this isn’t possible with a prosthetic arm. Control systems can be either body-powered, myoelectric, or motor-controlled.
How Does a Prosthetic Arm Work

How Many People Use It?

Someone may lose a limb for a variety of reasons such as military combat, automobile accidents, or illness. Others may be born without limbs. There are roughly 2 million people in the United States alone who have undergone an arm or leg amputation, many of which wear prosthetic limbs. Prosthetic devices have only improved over time thanks to technological advances in addition to changes in design and material. If you are currently looking into the process of getting a prosthetic arm, leg, or another body part, know that you are not alone!

Who Invented the First Prosthetic Arm?

James Hanger was a confederate soldier who became the first war amputee. He went on to invent the “Hanger Limb” which was a prosthetic leg made from a mixture of rubber bumpers, nails, and oak barrel staves. In terms of arms, Samuel Decker designed artificial arms and became a pioneer of modular limb design. In terms of an automatic body-powered upper-limb prosthesis, German dentist Peter Baliff was the first to do so in 1818. Prosthetics have been around for quite some time and they are only getting better.

How to Understand If You Really Want to Have a Prosthetic Arm

While there are many different benefits to having a prosthetic arm, it’s important that you take the time to understand whether or not you are ready to take on the responsibility and effort it takes to not only get one but to use it and care for it properly. In addition, you’ll also need to be a candidate when it comes to your physical condition.

If you’re considering getting a prosthetic arm, consider some of the following questions to help you make your decision:

  • Do you have enough soft tissue to provide a cushion for the remaining bone?
  • Are you constantly in a lot of pain? If so, is the pain level unbearable?
  • What is the current condition of the skin on the limb?
  • What is the range of motion that you have for the residual limb?
  • Is the other arm healthy and fully functional?
  • What was your activity level before the amputation?
  • What mobility goals do you want to reach?

If you need guidance on whether or not you’re a good candidate for a prosthetic arm, know that our professionals are always happy to talk with you and answer any questions that you may have.

Is It a Good Idea to Buy a Ready Prosthetic Arm?

While it’s possible to cut some corners and purchase a pre-made prosthetic arm, the outcome isn’t always ideal. One of the most important steps in using a prosthetic arm successfully is ensuring it fits perfectly onto your body. How well the prosthetic fits is essential to helping you achieve your mobility goals. Although it will take longer at the beginning of the fitting process, it will pay off in the long run as you’ll have a prosthetic that is specifically designed for you.

Prosthetic Arm

What Is the Price of a Prosthetic Arm?

The specific cost of a prosthetic arm depends on the complexity of your desired system and how much your insurance will cover. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay around $5,000 for a cosmetic prosthetic without insurance. If you have a functional prosthetic with a hook, you’ll likely pay around $10,000 without insurance. For the latest myoelectric arm technology, you may spend anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000. At PrimeCare Orthotics & Prosthetics, we always provide our patients with many resources to help them make informed decisions about which prosthetic is right for them based on cost.

Importance of Rehabilitation

The rehabilitation process following your amputation varies for each patient. The inpatient stay following surgery is usually around one week. During this inpatient rehabilitation time, patients and families have access to a team of experts to help them learn and ask questions about this transition. Once inpatient rehabilitation is complete, the next step is outpatient rehab. It’s similar to inpatient care, however, patients usually see their doctors weekly while working on at-home exercises between physical therapy appointments. Occupational therapists are also helpful in adjusting back to a normal daily life.

We’re Here to Help

There’s nothing more important to us than working with our patients on an individual level and getting to know their unique conditions. PrimeCare Orthotics & Prosthetics always here to answer your questions, provide guidance, and help you live a life that you may not think was possible. If you’re ready to take the next steps toward a custom prosthesis, please get in touch with our team today!

Request an Evaluation

If you have questions or you are ready to talk about prosthetic options, feel free to schedule a consultation at our clinic.

A grandfather with a prosthesis walks with his grandchildren.