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History of Artificial / Prosthetic Limbs

Last Updated on Nov 17, 2016
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History of Artificial / Prosthetic Limbs

Mechanical replacements for legs such as the wooden peg legs attributed to pirate characters in popular fiction like Long John Silver in Treasure Island have been in use since ancient times. Greek and Roman history more than 3000 years old have records of mechanical devices made out of basic materials like wood and metal, and attached to the body with leather straps that served as artificial limbs in battlefields. These were mostly made out of iron with the main purpose of hiding the deformity of a missing limb. Ancient prosthetics could not be controlled by the amputee as modern flexible prosthetics are.

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During the 16th century a French military doctor Ambroise Paré, who specialized in amputation techniques invented a hinged mechanical hand and artificial legs that had advanced features locking knees and specially attached harnesses. Towards the end of the 17th century, Pieter Verduyn, a Dutch surgeon, developed an artificial lower limb with specialized hinges and a leather cuff to facilitate better attachment to the body. The contributions made by these two doctors are still the basic features of modern day artificial limbs.

Gaseous anesthesia in the 19th century enabled doctors to perform accurate amputation surgeries in order to prepare the limb stump to fit comfortably with the prosthetic limb. Surgical advancements and sterile, germ free surgeries guaranteed successful amputation procedures, which in turn increased the demand for artificial limbs.

The field of prosthetics vastly improved with suction-based attachment methods and joint technology in the 19th century. Notably, a prosthetic arm that could be controlled by connecting straps in the opposite shoulder was developed in 1812. The surge in the number of World War II veteran amputees saw the establishment of the Artificial Limb Program in 1945 by the American National Academy of Sciences. Throughout the world scientific progress has contributed to rendering artificial limbs more lifelike and functional in terms of materials, design and adaptability.

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Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.

Comments

@Guest

I have lost my left leg in accident and its got amputed from knee. I am going to put artificial leg but I am confused wheter I can bend my leg from knee because I have got amputed from knee, I mean just exactly from knee

Pointernational

One of my brother lost his leg in an accident so he needs artificial limbs, I really found good information to help my brother...

MJALI

Dear sir, This comment for my brother in law he lost his leg below the knee [ some portion is there in below knee ] in road accident recently. He is under treatment for fixing artificial leg, how long will take time and how much will be cost.

anand538

Dear sir i have lost my right hand in an accident. So i can replace it with artificial hand. D don't know about the whole process so can you suggest about all. Pls help me. As soon as possible....

sanjay100566

Sir My son lost left hand from elbow in papad machine at 4 year old. Kindly give the new artificial working hand so he can do his work in both hand and drive vehicle.

@Guest

Dear Mr. Sanjay,
We offer Complete Rehab facility associated with fitting and training of various Prosthesis including Myoelectric Upper limb Systems and Microprocessor controlled Lower Limb Systems.

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