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Your Prosthetic Options for Above Elbow Amputation

Loss of an arm changes your life drastically. You may adapt to one-armed activities, but there are times when you just need both hands. That’s where prostheses come in. They’re not a new concept — people have been using artificial limbs for hundreds of years — but technological advances have made great strides in form and function. 

And this is good news if you’ve had a transhumeral (in the middle of your upper arm) amputation. Unlike someone who has lost their lower arm and retained their elbow, you face the additional challenges of trying to replicate the bending and rotating functions of the elbow joint as well as the wrist and hand. Today’s above-elbow prostheses fit your lifestyle and physical needs like never before.

Our team at Ortho Engineering, Inc. is here to custom design and fit your prosthesis so you can attain functionality, improved aesthetics, and an increased quality of life. You can even return to your favorite sport or hobby. Here are your options.

Passive

If you don’t need your artificial limb to perform any tasks, but you do want to have something up your sleeve, a passive prosthesis is right for you. Many of our patients have a passive prosthetic in addition to one that assists them with functions. Whether you use it as a backup or you simply prefer it for personal reasons, a passive artificial limb can be designed to match your skin tone and any other characteristics you desire.

Body powered

For times when you need your prosthesis to help you with everyday tasks, such as dressing, eating, drinking, and holding things, you have the power within your own body to make that happen.

Similar to strapping on a backpack, you wear a special harness that we tailor to your measurements. You learn to use your opposite shoulder to apply pressure on the harness, which bends the prosthetic elbow and opens or closes the hand. This type of harness system is very popular and widely used with great success.

Electric

Believe it or not, the muscles in your residual arm can actually control an electrical prosthesis. With a myoelectric signal — the impulse in your body that makes your muscles contract — you can tell your prosthetic limb what to do.

Flexing your biceps and triceps triggers a response in an electrode fitted inside your prosthesis. This action lets you control your elbow’s extension and flexion as well as the opening and closing of your hand. Many of our patients say the myoelectric prosthesis gives them greater dexterity and better grip power.

Hybrid

Because the myoelectric option may be difficult to master, or because you may not need that level of functionality, we also offer a hybrid prosthetic that gives you the best of both worlds. There are various combinations of technology available, and we work with you to choose what’s best for your life. For instance, you can opt for a body powered elbow that you control with the harness and gravity, and have a myoelectric hand.

Activity-specific prostheses

If you’re an athlete, musician, or hobbyist and need your prosthesis to perform specific tasks, we design adaptors for your terminal device (otherwise known as your hand) to help you get the job done. Here are just a few of the activities a custom-designed prosthetic can help you do:

At Ortho Engineering Inc., our goal is to get you back to a full life doing all the things you love to do. Whether you’re looking for a highly advanced, robotic arm or a simple passive prosthetic, we can help. Call us at any of our nine locations throughout Southern California.

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