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Our three main upper Ex prosthetic systems are a body powered heavy duty system, ETD myo hooks, and myo I-limbs or digits. We find these three combinations provide the widest variety of care and function.
The i-limb is helping thousands of amputees across the world to improve their everyday lives with the increased function offered by its technological advantages. Earlier generation myoelectric terminal devices all have one common limitation, that they grip through only one configuration, with the index and middle digit meeting the thumb in opposition (3-jaw chuck/tripod pinch). These systems are powered by one motor and offer only one grip pattern – clearly limiting and reducing the prehension function of a prosthesis. Many of these earlier devices have to generate a stronger-than human grip force at the tip, where the digits meet, in order to successfully hold heavy or odd-shaped items. The i-limb has a stall detection feature that prevents this “crush hazard” that early generation myoelectric wearers fear can occur with an accidental muscle firing that can cause their prosthetic to clamp down relentlessly when operating their prosthetic around tender subjects, such as infants or young children.
From a clinical perspective, there is a big difference in function between the two types of myoelectric hands. The “three jaw chuck” design hand only offers gross grasp and tripod pinch (index, middle finger and thumb). Due to this, individuals using this style device are not able to perform ADL’s as proficiently which require fine motor skill such as buttoning shirts, etc. without the use of additional adaptive equipment.
If the dominant hand is the amputated hand, it is very difficult to develop acceptable penmanship and signature. It is very hard to change hand dominance in an adult to be able to write. Since the “three jaw chuck” style digits are limited in articulation or fixed, visibility is limited and the individual will have difficulty seeing what they are doing. This is also true when trying to write. The i-limb’s fingers are slender and are able to move proportionally as well as individually, enhancing the client control of grasp needs, something that is not available with other myoelectric hands.