man with prosthetic arm holding hands with partner

Upper-Limb Prosthetics That Deliver Lifelike Movement

Find Prosthetic Solutions in Kansas City at Cotton Orthotic and Prosthetic Associates

Losing a hand or an arm is a significant change that impacts day-to-day activities, careers, and other facets of life. Amputees not only deal with loss of function, but there is also a psychological element they must overcome.

Fortunately, custom prosthetics has evolved by leaps and bounds within the past couple decades. Modern prosthetic solutions are not a one-size-fits-all affair; they are carefully crafted and custom designed specifically for one wearer and their unique residual limb.

Upper-limb prosthetics are revolutionary devices designed to replace or enhance missing or impaired arms and hands. They offer a range of benefits that empower amputees and enhance their quality of life. In this blog, we’ll explore modern upper-limb prosthetic solutions and their recent innovations. Afterward, we’ll provide information about how to find custom prosthetic solutions in Kansas City.

Advancements in the Field of Upper-Limb Prosthetics

Arm prosthetics have come a long way from their rudimentary origins. In recent years, innovations and advancements in materials, technology, and design have transformed these devices into sophisticated, functional, and lifelike extensions of the human body. The following showcases the various types of modern arm prosthetics.

Body-Powered Prosthetics

Similar to how a bicycle utilizes a system of gears, pedals, and a chain to initiate motion, body-powered prosthetics rely on cables and harness systems to provide control and function. When the user moves their residual limb, the cables activate the device, enabling users to perform various motions. Recent innovations have improved the comfort and efficiency of these prosthetic solutions, making them more user-friendly.

Myoelectric Prosthetics

Myoelectric prosthetics are a remarkable blend of biology and technology. They use electromyographic signals from the user’s muscles in their residual limb to control the device. Recent advancements in myoelectric technology have led to more precise and intuitive upper-limb prosthetic solutions, allowing users to perform intricate tasks with greater ease.

Multi-Articulating Prosthetic Solutions

Multi-articulating prosthetic hands are similar to myoelectric prosthetics in that they respond to the residual limb’s electromyographic signals. These prosthetics replicate the natural movement of the human hand, providing multiple points of articulation in the fingers and joints. Using a software program, multi-articulating prosthetic hands can be programmed to perform multiple grip patterns. For example, they can articulate the grip pattern for holding a writing utensil or silverware.

3D-Printed Prosthetics

3D-printing technology is revolutionizing several industries at once. For example, orthopedic doctors use medical grade 3D printers to create artificial joints and hips for replacement surgeries. Further, 3D printing is used to create numerous types of consumer goods, industrial products, vehicle prototypes, and even prosthetic limbs.

Customization, affordability, and short production times are the hallmarks of 3D-printed upper-limb prosthetics. According to Xometry, a 3D-printed arm can be created within a single day and costs less than $500. With the help of 3D scanning and printing technology, prosthetists can create tailored devices that perfectly fit the individual’s anatomy and are resilient against wear and tear.

Exoskeleton Prosthetics

Exoskeleton upper-limb prosthetics are a relatively recent innovation that combines wearable robotics and prosthetic limbs. These devices assist users by providing support and amplifying their movements. They offer significant potential for those who require assistance with handling objects and strength. However, more work needs to be done before exoskeleton custom prosthetics are made widely available.

The Benefits of Upper-Limb Prosthetics

Modern upper-limb prosthetic solutions allow wearers to reclaim functionality and their sense of self-confidence. The following breaks down the main benefits upper-limb amputees can look forward to:

Realistic Appearance

Modern prosthetic limbs not only offer functionality, but also appear lifelike. Silicone covers, customizable skin tones, and realistic detailing allow these prosthetics to blend seamlessly with the user’s residual limb.

Functional Independence

Perhaps the most significant benefit is the restoration of functional independence. Upper-limb prosthetics enable amputees to perform everyday tasks, such as eating, dressing, writing, and using a computer, with greater ease and autonomy. As time goes on and technology evolves, we can expect the articulation and functionality of these solutions to get more and more precise.


Prosthetic devices can be tailored to an individual’s specific needs, preferences, and body type. Customization ensures a comfortable fit and optimal functionality, reducing the need for additional fittings and adjustments.

Improved Mental Health

Upper-limb prosthetics and prosthetic solutions provide a sense of normalcy and boost a person’s self-esteem, reducing the emotional toll of limb loss. The psychological benefits of prosthetic limbs cannot be overstated.

Contact Us for Prosthetic Solutions in Kansas City

Upper-limb prosthetics are life-changing instruments that empower amputees to reclaim their functionality and live life to the fullest. As custom-prosthetics technology advances, the possibilities for these solutions are limitless.

Those who are on a journey to find the best upper-limb prosthetic for them are encouraged to contact Dan Cotton of Cotton Orthotic and Prosthetic Associates. As an ABC-certified prosthetist from the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics, Dan has an extensive background in various types of patient scenarios and prosthetic devices, including lower and upper-limb prosthetics.

You can schedule a consultation with Cotton Orthotic and Prosthetic Associates using the contact form on our website or call us at (913) 338-2672. Our clinic is open Monday through Friday, by appointment only.

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