It can be difficult to find a prosthetic that works best for you. Upper extremity prosthetics, in particular, can have a major impact on the quality of life for a person wearing the device. We use our arms and hands to grab everything from doorknobs to water glasses. It’s important for a person to be able to comfortably perform these tasks.

Myoelectric upper extremity prosthetics provide great capabilities. The technology continues to advance. So what are these devices? And how can they help an amputee?

What Are Myoelectrics?

Our muscles are controlled through electric pulses throughout our bodies. Myoelectric refers to the electrical properties that are stored and utilized by our muscles. These electric signals can be wired into upper extremity prosthetics to create a more natural and useful device that can be powered by the wearer’s own muscles. Components can be made to assist the replacement of hands, elbows, and wrists.

These prosthetics offer many great affordances to those who make use of them. Myoelectric prostheses are more comfortable and look more natural than previous prosthetic options. They provide some impressive capabilities such as elbows that flex, wrists that bend and rotate, and hands that can hold items.

Visit Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions to learn more about upper extremity prosthetic solutions in Nashville, TN!

How Does It Work?

Sensors are positioned in the socket of the prosthetic device. These sensors receive signals from the surrounding organic material when the user intentionally engages related muscles. The information gained from the muscles is then sent by the sensors to a controller which engages electric motors to create movement in the joints of the prosthesis. The intensity of the movement is dictated by the intensity of the engagement of surrounding muscles.

These signals can come from a few different places such as the muscles in the chest or back if the surrounding area is not able to provide sufficient information.

Occasionally, the prosthesis will not be able to interpret information from the residual limb if the muscles and nerves are too damaged. Another device can be used to control the movement of the prosthesis in this case such as a touchpad.

Additional Power Sources

The signals that control the movement don’t power the device. Batteries are used to provide power to the motors and electronic systems. These batteries will need to be charged in order to ensure continued operation of the device. Some systems allow for the battery to be removed in order to charge it, and other devices will simply have an attached cord that will need to be plugged in to charge it.

Myoelectric Prosthesis Compared to Standard Prosthesis

All types of upper extremity prosthetics will have benefits for the wearer. However, there are differences in what each type of prosthetic will provide. Myoelectric prosthetics will afford many positive attributes when compared to a standard prosthetic that is simply powered by the user’s movements and actions.

The very first benefit wearers of myoelectric upper electric prosthetics will enjoy is an increased range of motion. Static prosthetics are very limited into their ability to grab or hold various items. But myoelectric prosthetics allow the wearer to perform some impressive feats such as holding onto an egg without cracking it.

This increased range of motion combines with an increased ability to perform more detailed movements to make it easier for wearers of myoelectric prosthetics to perform tasks. Anybody who has used prosthetics knows that this is a huge help in their everyday life. It can take a while to become accustomed to new ways of doing things with prosthetics. Myoelectric upper extremity prosthetics provide the ability to return to more natural means of completing daily tasks.

Examples of Myoelectric Upper Extremity Prosthetics

Michelangelo Prosthetic Hand

This myoelectric prosthesis from Ottobock provides natural movement. The thumb, index, and middle finger are all actively driven, while the ring and pinky finger follows the motion of the others. The fingertips are a mix of soft and hard materials to provide precise grips.

A skin-colored glove fits over the prosthetic to give a natural and lifelike appearance. So not only is the prosthetic incredibly beneficial to perform tasks, it looks great.

Motion E2 Elbow

This lightweight myoelectric elbow joint is perfect for both smaller individuals as well as adolescents. It can be operated with a switch if myoelectric control is not a possibility. Prefabricated forearms are available to go with the elbow, but it also fits any forearms the user might already have.

Visit Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions in Nashville, TN

Are you in need of useful and attractive upper extremity prosthetics in the Nashville, TN area? Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions has many great options that can be tailored to fit your exact needs.

Contact us today!