How Do Artificial Limbs Work?
The science behind artificial limbs grows every single day. Gone are the days of prosthetics made more for appearance over function. For the millions of Americans who depend on these medical devices for their quality of life, that’s good news. If you’re an amputee patient facing a future with a prosthetic, you probably have a lot of questions. Let’s start with the most basic one: How do artificial limbs work?
Understanding how do artificial limbs work
Prosthetics might look pretty simple from the outside, but they are a very complicated piece of medical equipment. There are many moving parts working together to function and learning to utilize one to its fullest extent is a long journey of practice and learning. To understand how artificial do limbs work, you need to understand all the parts below the surface.
The prosthetic socket
The socket is the part of the artificial limb that interacts with your body most closely. It’s fitted perfectly for your residual limb after surgery, well after its healed and swelling has subsided. There’s usually a liner of some sort in between your residual limb and the device to reduce the occurrence of irritation or damage to the residual limb. The socket fits the residual limb snuggly to ensure that the limb stays attached and functioning properly.
The prosthetic pylon and suspension system
The internal guts of the prosthetic include the pylon—the skeleton or internal frame of the device, and the suspension system—the specific way you keep the device attached to your body. Many modern prosthetics have an exposed pylon like the famous Olympic runner’s devices. More commonly, they’re enclosed by lightweight material made to look like a part of the body. The suspension system can include belts, sleeves, a harness, and commonly supports suction as a means of keeping the device in place.
After you understand how do artificial limbs work
Once you have a basic concept of how these prosthetic devices work, you can delve more deeply into the process of getting one. Usually that process takes several months and that time period won’t start until after your prosthetist determines that you’re fully healed from surgery. Artificial limbs are a lifesaver for many Americans, providing a quality of life that they wouldn’t have otherwise. The journey to getting there is a tough road, but worth it for the adventures that lay ahead.