Michigan Prosthetics & Amputees

A Michigan prosthetics firm has provided the latest in prosthetic technologies for over 50 years to child and adult amputees and those with limb differences.

The advancements in prosthetic design have been significant in recent decades, particularly with the improvements and developments in robotic technologies and blue tooth devices. While decades ago amputees who came to Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics, for Michigan prosthetics faced limited options for artificial limbs, today those with limb differences due to accident, disease or congenital defects have many more choices at the company’s 20 locations throughout Michigan.

Prosthetics have changed

Back when the National Academy of Sciences started the first artificial limb program in 1945 the artificial limbs available were wooden limbs. Fitting these devices could be challenging and uncomfortable for people with limb differences and many chose not to use them and got by as they could.

What once would have seemed impossible is happening all around us. Today prosthetics seem to mimic Hollywood science fiction blockbusters with incredible functionality and ultra high-tech materials. As we saw during the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games, South African Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius amputee achieved gold medal status with high-tech artificial legs. People around the world watched in amazement as the double-amputee ran to victory and the media dubbed him “Blade Runner.” Prosthetics, Michigan and abroad are becoming more functional, visually appealing and comfortable.

Materials are better today

Today’s prosthetics are no longer rough wooden imitations of real limbs. Instead, carbon fiber and other modern materials make artificial legs and feet seem more natural. The sockets are made out of thermoplastics now, which allow for much better custom fitting and improved comfort. Titanium is strong and much more durable than wood ever could be for a prosthesis.

Incredible use of the cell phone bluetooth technology has been used successfully to improve the use of some prosthetic limbs since 2007. Amazingly, the software technology that lets cell phone users talk hands free can also be used help to regulate elements such as stride and pressure for artificial limbs. This allows the devices to be adjusted to suit the unique needs of each person using prosthetics.

 

Bionic reality

Similarly, computer technology has assisted people with amputations above the knee, who previously had more difficulties to control their prosthetic legs in certain situations. Now, with specially designed microprocessor knees, it is almost as though the person has a naturally working joint. The robotic knees make it much easier for amputees to walk, stop and walk up or down. The improved stability is much safer as well.

The United Kingdom debuted a cutting-edge technology in 2007 that shows the advancements are going to become more and more sophisticated in years to come.  A myoelectric technology prostheses called i-LIMB translates electric signals from the muscles in the stump to control a processor. The prosthetic hand they demonstrated allowed was nothing short of incredible with all the fingers and thumb working so deftly the articifical hand could even pick up a coin and open a soda.

 

The future looks bright

Another break-through advancement for prostheses is known as targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR). Essentially, the nerves for the area affected by amputation are reenergized elsewhere on the body. Then, when the amputee wants to use the prostheses, thinking about the action causes the nerves to react in the new area of the body and signal the microprocessor in the artificial limb. While this is still a very new technology, with fewer than 50 amputees worldwide using the trial TMR prosthetic devices, it is a good indicator of what Michigan prosthetics may be redily available in years to come.

The knowledgeable staff at Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics strives to stay informed of all the latest advancements in prosthetics, in order to make the best recommendations for you. Contact us for a complimentary consultation at one of our Michigan prosthetic locations near you including Traverse City, Cadillac, Grand Rapids and Petoskey as well as 17 other convenient locations.