Prosthetic and orthotic devices are custom made tools for your child to help enhance function. Devices can be used for daily use or designed for a specific activity.
For those who may have an absence of a hand or arm, prosthetics can sometimes bridge a functional gap. Prosthetics can be made to help with activities from balanced crawling and holding a bottle, to climbing monkey bars, participating in sports, and playing a wide variety of musical instruments. Some individuals choose to wear their prosthesis from morning to night every day. Most choose only to wear them only to help with specific tasks. Many find wearing no prosthesis at all is the best option. Some prosthetics look similar to a natural hand and arm. Others have more interesting and functional shapes and can be covered with unique designs, cartoon characters, or superheroes!
At Pediatric Hand Study Group each prosthetic design is as unique as each child’s personality and specific functional needs. Children are seen and followed-up by our doctors and rehabilitation team members to develop a customized treatment plan. We continue to follow up year-by-year to make sure devices continue to fit, and the design is continually updated to remain functionally relevant to each child as they grow.
When meeting with a prosthetic specialist, the prosthetist (Pros-the-tist) for the first time, it is helpful to ask a few questions to establish a united set of expectations.
In addition to anything you are curious about, a few examples of questions to ask are:
- What has been your experience working with this specific amputation level?
- What are the pros and cons of the various design options for a prosthesis at this amputation level?
- What is my payment responsibility for the initial prosthesis and any needed follow-up? *At Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California, children are treated without regard for the ability to pay.
Lastly, remember that your happiness with, and the usefulness of a prosthesis will be directly related to the expectations and design decisions you and your prosthetist make, quality of the work they provide, and the effort that you and your child make to use and wear the device. You should expect the prosthesis to be a fun, comfortable, and useful tool.