Enhanced Upper Extremity Prosthetic Options and How They Help

According to dictionary.com, a prosthetic is a device, either external or implanted, that substitutes for or supplements a missing or defective part of the body.” They are used in both medical and dental offices, and the technology is expanding on prosthetics often. They are constantly coming up with new, better and improved devices that feel more like the limb, or part that it is replacing. Prosthetics in Memphis, TN, are improving substantially. Whether it be an arm or leg, technological advancements have created a limb that is very similar to the real thing. An incredible discovery that is continually developing in technology is the robotic prosthetic. This battery powered limb connects to the nervous or muscular systems of the brain, which then sends the signals that would have gone to the limb to its replacement. With the robotic prosthetic, they are continually discovering ways to teach the prosthetic to move in the way the normal body moves. Below are the top 5 upper extremity prosthetic options available, most of which are robotic.

Passive Prosthesis

A passive prosthesis is created more for look than functionality. While you probably won’t get much use out of it, they use a procedure known as comesis to make it look real. Comesis is a cosmetic-type procedure that can create a limb that looks almost identical to the missing limb. They have become so technologically advanced that they are able to create features as small as freckles, veins, and even tiny hairs! They are made from all different materials, but a most common is silicone. Although it can become quite expensive based on the amount of added detail, this procedure is an incredible way to recreate the missing limb.

Electrically Powered

This is a robotic type prosthetic that can include either a body-powered harness which uses cables and harnesses that are strapped to the individual directly, or a battery-powered device that is more discreet. With the body-powered device, the cables mechanically maneuver the artificial limb through the muscle, shoulder, and arm movement. This helps experience the direct control and feedback that the individual would feel naturally. The downside to this, however, is that it is not only incredibly exhausting; but it also isn’t as natural looking as a battery powered prosthesis which is less noticeable, more natural looking and not as exhausting. But, on the flip side, it is not as easy to control as the body-powered device.


This type of prosthetic uses electromyography signals that work with the muscles on the residual skin to help control movement. For example, it helps the open and closing of a hand, movement of fingers and flexing and extending the elbow. This focuses on the neuromuscular system as opposed to the nervous system and is discreet and more natural looking. It is a more popular option because it is the most natural looking while also having the ability to perform tasks.


The hybrid combines both the electric and body type of prosthetic. This is a great option for those that have amputation above the elbow because it allows one to move both their elbow and hand at the same time. It basically uses two different control methods in one prosthetic and is highly efficient for those in the rehabilitation stage.

So whether it be a passive prosthetic or more robotic, myoelectric, type, when looking for prosthetics in Memphis, TN, you can find the right one to fit your needs.