I now have my prosthesis, still a few adjustments to be made, but I use it everyday (kind of have to since I can’t legally drive without it). I thought you might be interested in how it all works, so I took a few photos to help explain.
My prosthesis consists of a “socket” that attaches to my stump. There are different approaches as to how a socket attaches to or can be “suspended” from a stump, in my case it uses suction to stay on (the nice part being there aren’t any extra harnesses or braces).
I first put a silicon liner on my arm, a bit like putting on a wetsuit. The liner helps protect my arm, but its main purpose is to create a seal inside the socket via the lip at the end (these liners cost about $450 a piece).
Next I slide my stump into the socket, there’s a bit of a knack to this since my arm is a little bulbous in the middle. I slide my stump in bit by bit, alternating between pushing it in and trying to pull it out again. The air escapes through the white, one-way valve you can see in the photo. Once on, the vacuum keeps the socket locked in place nice and secure, I just press the valve to release it.
Now I velcro the cuff around my bicep, which routes the cable behind my back (this is still a work-in-progress), and put my arm through the white loop which goes over my right shoulder. Using the movement of my arm forward, or a shrug of my shoulders, I can pull the cable and thus open the hook on the end. I’m still getting use to this system and most often just take the cable system off and use the hook as a “passive” device…which is just fine for driving.
I have several other attachments that Hanger ordered for me from TRS, Inc., each one connects to the end of the socket via a quick release, so it’s relatively easy to change the devices around.
The “Grip Prehensor” is what’s called a “voluntary closing” device, unlike the hook above, which is “voluntary opening”, pulling on the cable closes the hand allowing me to exert 100 lbs or more of force (the hook uses elastic bands to close and is limited to 5-10 lbs of force).
My plan is to use this for bike riding and weight training, there is also a lock pin that I can insert that allows me to lock the hand on to bike handlebars, for example. By the way, these things aren’t cheap, this attachment alone is in the region of $1200 (thankfully my medical insurance covers 80% of this).
My last attachment currently is the “Super Sport” flex-hand, which allows me to do things like yoga…but more on this later. I have also just ordered a guitar accessory that will allow me to strum a guitar again (unfortunately not covered by insurance), I’ll let you know how I get on with it.