Myoelectric prostheses have been developed for users whose arm or forearm has been amputated due to congenital deficiency or trauma. There are even special models for children aged 4 and over.
Myoelectric (or myoelectrically controlled) prostheses let the user actively grasp objects and perform essential everyday tasks such as getting dressed.
The hand is actuated when sensors on certain muscles detect a user-initiated contraction. Every time a muscle contracts, a very small electrical voltage is generated which can be detected by sensors on the skin. These contractions are amplified and used to open, close and rotate the hand. A battery integrated into the myoelectric prostheses powers the movement.
A suitably adapted socket is an essential prerequisite for correct control of the prosthesis. Rehabilitation work, coordinated by the center, is essential in enabling users to learn how to control their muscle contractions at the stump. Over a period of time, the user stops thinking “open and close” and instead remembers to “pick up and release”. The hand can then start to become an integral part of the body.
There are different types of myoelectric hand. The prosthetist works with specialist physicians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to offer the user a device best suited to his or her specific circumstances.
The prosthesis is covered with a cosmetic glove or cover to create a natural appearance.
The user must provide day-to-day care of the prosthesis in accordance with the instructions for use provided by the prosthetist. The user should arrange to see a prosthetist once a year for a general review and for servicing and maintaining the prosthesis. If users have any questions about the device they should not hesitate to contact their prosthetist or physician. For this type of prosthesis, regular servicing is mandatory.