Retrospective Analysis of 87 Children and Adults Fitted with Electric Prosthetic Componentry

During the past 10-15 years, the upper extremity amputee (with available funding) has had a distinct choice of two prosthetic alternatives. The choice of body-powered components, versus electric components, has become an issue of debate for many physicians, therapists, prosthetists, and patients. Questions raised often include: When are these costly components indicated? Does vocation, personality, age, or other criteria play a role when considering the appropriateness of an electric component? During the past 11 years, we have seen 338 upper limb amputees. Of these individuals, 285 (84%) had unilateral limb loss and 53 (16%) had bilateral limb loss. Eighty-seven (26%) amputees of the population were fitted with electric components. Of these 87, 21(24%) were children and 66 (76%) were adults. Their levels included all unilateral and bilateral levels of loss. Careful analyses were performed of these 87 individuals fitted with electric components. Issues such as wearing time, functional use, vocation, as well as likes and dislikes regarding the prostheses were reviewed. The findings, although preliminary, show significant success in children with a below elbow amputation fitted at an early age with electric components. Bilateral upper extremity amputees, although anxious to try myoelectric components, often turn to using body-power terminal devices. The rationale of those amputees who preferred to use body-power components and those who preferred electric components will be comprehensively addressed.

The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, 1333 Moursund, Houston, Texas 77030