Upper limbs

Upper limb prostheses are designed to replace the function or appearance of missing upper limbs as far as possible. When we fit our patients with prostheses, we aim to help them compensate for the loss of physical functions. Meintjes and Neethling therefore offers the following options for upper extremities prostheses:

  • Cosmetic
  • Body-powered
  • Battery-powered
  • A complete range of bionic and myoelectric devices to provide the latest technology

We provide the following upper limb prosthesis for upper extremities:

Cosmetic

Custom-made prosthesis

These are highly-specialised devices that are made from the casts of patients themselves. Because a custom-made prosthesis is designed and made to address a specific person’s needs, the arm prosthesis can only be worn by the person it was made for. Meintjes and Neethling are qualified to fit custom-made prosthetics for the entire body. We therefore advise our clients to consult with us in person to ensure that the entire body or residual limb is evaluated and the complete range of treatment and prosthetic devices is taken into consideration.

Body-powered

Using a system of cables and harnesses, a body-powered prosthesis requires patients to move; for example, their arms or shoulders should pull the cables and open or close the end devices (which can be hands or hooks) much in the same manner as a bicycle’s handbrake system. The typical advantages of body-powered devices include that the custom-made prosthesis:

  • Has a lower initial cost;
  • Is lighter and easier to repair; and
  • Offers increased tension feedback to the body.

Typical disadvantages are:

  • A mechanical appearance; and
  • Difficult operation as it depends on the patient’s physical strength.

Battery-powered

Myoelectric or Bionic

Myoelectrically controlled upper limb prostheses are powered externally and are therefore not dependent on the patient’s muscle strength. In addition, it uses the body’s residual neuro-muscular system to manage the functions of the electrically-powered arm prosthesis. Typical advantages of these electric devices include that they:

  • Are battery-powered and therefore independent of body power; and
  • Provide strong grip power.

Typical disadvantages are:

  • Increased initial costs;
  • Increased weight (although battery improvements have reduced the weight and increased the capacity and voltage);
  • Increased repair cost; and
  • Dependence on the batteries’ lifespan (but the batteries can easily be replaced).