A prosthesis is a manmade device and extension that functions as a replacement for a body part that is missing. It can also be referred to as a prosthetic limb or a prosthetic. A part of the area of biomechatronics, it is the science of employing mechanical objects with human skeleton, human muscle and the human nervous system to supply motor control that was lost due to defect, sickness or trauma. People who have lost body parts due to injury or who were born without certain body parts are generally the people who would need prosthetics. The following will explore prosthetics in greater detail.
History of Prosthetics
The first known mention of prosthetics occurred in the Indian sacred text called the Rigveda, when it was mentioned in relation to Vishpala, a warrior queen. The Ancient Egyptians were pioneers of the concept of prosthetics, and this is illustrated effectively in the discovery of a body with a wooden toe, which was discovered in the New Kingdom. The Romans also have a history with prosthetics, as bronze crowns have been found on preserved, Roman bodies. One of the first prosthetic arms that was made (that was also refined) belonged to Gotz von Berlichingen, and dated back to the 16th century.
Important Early Advances in Prosthetics
Some important early advances in prosthetics are still regarded with esteem to this day. Prior to the modern era, some improvements in prosthetics were achieved by some prominent contributors. For example, Pieter Verduyn was responsible for a below-knee prosthesis that was nonlocking, and James Potts was known for making a prosthetic from a socket and a wooden shank, a foot that was articulated, and a steel knee joint. Sir James Syme was known for devising a breakthrough (at the time) manner of ankle amputation, which did not require amputation at the thigh. Then there was Dubois Parmelee , who is credited with producing a prosthetic that featured a multi-articulated foot, a polycentric knee, and suction socket.
Other names contributed in equally important ways. Benjamin Palmer, for one, made improvements to the Selpho leg by adding concealed tendons and an anterior spring to copy movement that looked natural. The Desoutters —Marcel and Charles—also made important contributions in prosthetics’ early advances. They came up with a prosthesis that was the first one ever made from aluminum.
Types of Prosthetics
People who have ever worn prosthetics know that there are generally four major kinds of prosthetics. These are transtibial prostheses, transfemoral prostheses, transradial prostheses and transhumeral prostheses. The type of prosthesis that is appropriate for any given person is largely based on the kind of limb that the person is missing. In example, a transtibial prosthesis would not be used to replace an arm.
The transtibial prosthesis replaces the part of one’s leg that is missing below the knee. The effect on recipients of a transtibial prosthesis is quite positive. Transtibial amputees are commonly capable of regaining natural movement more easily than somebody who has suffered a transtibial amputation. This is due to keeping the knee, permitting easier movement.
The transfemoral prosthesis is used to replace the part of one’s leg that is missing above the knee. It is usually quite hard for transfemoral amputees to get back any natural movement. A transfemoral amputee normally utilizes 80 percent more energy walking than a person with good legs. This has a lot to do with the intricacies in moving associated with one’s knee.
An artificial limb, a transradial prosthesis is a replacement for one’s arm that is missing below one’s elbow. Two main kinds of prosthesis are around. There are cable-operated limbs, which work by connecting a cable and a harness around the other shoulder opposite to the injured arm. Then there are myoelectric arms, which use electrodes to sense when one’s muscles in one’s upper arm move, thereby causing opening and closing of the hand.
An artificial limb, the transhumeral prosthesis replaces one’s arm that is missing above one’s elbow. Some of the same types of issues are experienced with this prosthetic as with the transfemoral one. This has a lot to do with the intricacies around the way one’s elbow moves. This type of prosthesis is usually called an AE prosthesis.
In planning a transtibial prosthesis, designers have to look at a number of factors. The companies that make these prosthetics usually focus mostly on factors that have a lot to do with performance. This involves things like energy absorption, suspension, weight, ground compliance, energy return and storage, and rotation. Other factors like ease of use and cost are always necessary to look at, too.