Clinical Report: A Functionally Advanced Juvenile Above-Elbow Prosthesis


Erik, a 7-year-old congenital bilateral transverse humeral hemimelic, has been seen at our clinic since 1979. He has been fitted unilaterally with conventional body-powered prostheses on the right side. The degree of function attainable with body power has never been satisfactory because of his small stature and lack of excursion. An early experience with external power (a Michigan Hook) resulted in rejection because of repeated wire breakage and the fact that it did not address the real problem which was elbow control. A self-contained myoelectric prosthesis offered the best chance for improved function. Universal Artificial Limb Company had developed a control system capable of proportionally driving existing switch-operated elbows and providing for myoelectric hand control as well. A prosthesis using this system was fabricated and delivered in December 1986. Based on clinical observation and parental reports, this fitting is a success. Function has improved markedly, reflected in the fact that Erik has increased his use of the prosthesis from occasional, social situations to full daytime usage.

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