For most amputees who rely on prosthetics, they must be able to place a residual limb into special socket that secures the artificial limb to their body. For amputees who do not have a residual limb, or who cannot be fitted with a supporting socket, their mobility options are far more limited. Now that the FDA has approved a new type of prosthetic that can be anchored directly into the bone, this may soon change. While the approval only extends to leg prosthesis, the news could mean some major developments for medical manufacturing.
Image Source: Popular Science
“The Osseoanchored Prosthesis for the Rehabilitation of Amputees (OPRA) device solves this issue by using fixtures that are implanted directly into the amputee’s bone, which allows them to attach a prosthetic to it, like a bionic K’Nex. […] A 2014 study published in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that amputees using the device reported increased mobility, comfort, and function. Amputees using this device also don’t have to worry about issues such as heat and chafing that prosthetic sockets give.”
Since there is increased risk of infection associated with bone-anchored prosthetics, there are still a number of challenges yet to be overcome with this type of device. The FDA’s approval, however, represents a significant bit of progress.