Prosthetics technology is a miracle in science that has not only reshaped our world in ways we least imagined but has fortified it with hope in seeming impossibilities.
Prosthetics technology originated about 3000 BCE Near East circa, with the timeliest proof occurring in ancient Egypt and Iran. The earliest application of prosthetics was the eye prosthetics in the Egyptian story of the Eye of Horus dating back to circa 3000 BC, which involves the left eye of Horus being plucked out and then restored by Thoth.
In medical science, prosthetics is concerned with the making and fitting of artificial body parts, which may be lost through accident, congenital disorder, disease or trauma. Prostheses are intended to restore the normal functions of the missing body part with the use of technology.
Prostheses or artificial body parts can be created by hand or with computer-aided design (CAD), a software interface that helps creators design and analyze the creation with computer-generated 2-D and 3-D graphics as well as analysis and optimization tools.
Through prosthetics, some measure of normalcy is restored to life and living. People who lost mobility due to an amputated body part are given a chance to own and experience a less dependent life. Prostheses aim to restore the ability to those who lost their locomotor abilities due to varying circumstances.
The Cost Of Prosthetics
In other for prostheses to perform optimally, they must be super-strong thermoplastics, Lightweight and custom-made to the patient. Cutting-edge materials such as carbon fibre, titanium and Kevlar provide strength and durability are needed in its making. More sophisticated prostheses are equipped with advanced electronics, which provides additional stability and control. This in turn makes the cost of prosthetics purse rupturing.
The cost of a prosthetic limb in the USA costs between $15,000 – $90,000, depending on the kind of limb a patient wants. If the patient has insurance, the cost may reduce by 10 – 50%. In the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and some parts of Europe, the complete expense of prosthetic limbs is being taken care of by the state schemes or statutory insurance, especially in instances of amputation due to disease and most traumatic amputations.
The cost of a prosthetic limb in Nigeria depends on the part of the body affected. A good prosthetic limb ranges between N350,000 – N9,000,000. The lack of professionals in this field is a major factor in the humongous cost of prosthetics.
Types Of Prostheses
The type of prostheses depends on the body part affected. It is divided into two parts which are:
1. Upper-Body prostheses
This refers to varying levels of amputation performed on the upper-body region like shoulder disarticulation, Breast Prosthetics (usually due to Cancer-related mastectomy), transhumeral prosthetics, transradial prosthetics, finger prosthetics, below the Elbow Prosthetics and above the Elbow Prosthetics.
2. Lower-Body Prostheses
This refers to varying levels of amputation found in the lower body. These include hip disarticulation, toe prosthetics above the knee (transfemoral) Prosthetics and below the knee(transtibial) Prosthetics.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Prosthesis.
1. Fit – Prostheses must be fitting for amputees or those with bony residual. The socket should fit and madee comfortable with gel liner
2. Ease of use – Temporary prosthesis should be made easy to be worn or removed while locomotive activities in permanent prosthesis should be made easy and seamless
3. Size availability – Before opting for a prosthesis, the availability of your size should be guaranteed by the manufacturer in instances where a replacement is required.
4. Energy absorption – so as to minimize the effect of high impact of the prostheses on the musculoskeletal system.
5. Ground compliance – stability independent of terrain type and angle
6. Rotation – ease of changing direction from one end to another.
7. Weight – in other to maximise comfort, balance and speed, the lighter the weight, the more effective and efficient a prosthesis will be.
8. Suspension – how the socket will join and fit the limb.
9. Cost – Affordability is a factor to consider when choosing a prosthesis. The less expensive, the easier it will be in maintenance, repair and replacement.
How Has Prosthetic Technology Improved Life?
Without mincing words, prostheses have been a blessing to mankind, restoring hope and dignity to man in unseemly circumstances. Amputees who have a passion for sports can engage without hindrances; become less dependent on others and enjoy a rich and meaningful life.
Prostheses reduce costs on society in the loss of wages and reducing caregiving expenses which can put a tremendous strain on the economy.
As I conclude, though the blessings of prosthetic technology abound, it remains unaffordable to the common man. The cost of acquiring a prosthesis is cost-intensive, that it will require someone who is financially buoyant to pull off.
I submit, if this technology was meant to restore hope, balance and normalcy to those who have one degree of amputation or another, the cost should be subsidized or taken care of by appropriate state agencies.
Finally, the world is yet to see the many amazing sides of science and technology as it is out to reshape the human experience. I implore you to engage, support and be the change you want to see.