Review of Infant Fittings at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, 10 Years of Service


The Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick is well known for it's work in upper extremity myoelectric prosthetics. It opened it's clinical facility, the Prosthetics Research Centre, in 1981 and began fitting patients in January of 1982. This report reviews the infant fitting program over the past 10 years.

The infant fitting program at the Prosthetics Research Centre begins with fitting of a passive prosthesis as early as 4 months of age. The passive prosthesis is weighted in three stages until it reaches the approximate weight of the first myoelectric prosthesis. The decision when to switch the child to the myoelectric prosthesis, which may be as early as one year old, depends upon the progress and development of the child and family during the passive fitting period.

Over the 10 year period, 22 children have followed this passive program and were fitted with a myoelectric prosthesis. Today these children vary from age 15 months to 10 years. 18 children remain myoelectric prosthetic wearers and return regularly for follow-up fittings. One child received services at another Canadian facility and one has been lost to follow-up. Two children chose not to be followed and are not prosthesis wearers.

Over the years, the infant fitting program has evolved and changed as new control systems, hand sizes, batteries and other supplies which suited the needs of small children became available. This paper reviews the program by considering these changes in available technology over the ten years.

Institute of Biomedical Engineering, 180 Woodbridge Street, Fredericton, NB E313 4R3