Department| Volume 19, ISSUE 4, P449-450, October 2006

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Evolution of Silicone Restorations for Individuals with Thumb Amputations

      The amount of disability one sustains from a thumb amputation is approximately proportional to the amount of thumb lost. Amputations at or distal to the IP joint may be treated with an aesthetic thumb tip prosthesis, while amputations proximal to the IP joint require a restoration with greater rigidity in order to simulate opposition. A prosthetic design incorporating a thumb stabilizer has been developed to serve this purpose while maintaining the aesthetics for an acceptable restoration. This prosthesis acts as an opposition post for the fingers to provide prehensile function and improve pinch and grip. Clients with thumb amputations who use a prosthesis with a thumb stabilizer have enhanced ability to perform grasping and pinching tasks in activities of daily living. This suggests that use of a stabilizer would be the standard of care for all patients at this level of amputation. This design addresses both function and aesthetics, which are important to the amputee. Thumb stabilizers, when incorporated into a silicone thumb restoration, provide functional pinch and grip strength by allowing the user to have a device that opposes the remaining digits without aesthetic compromise. The goal of hand therapy is to ultimately improve function. Thumb opposition is important as it is used in most daily tasks. This prosthetic design, which includes stable opposition, provides an opportunity for improved function. It would be beneficial for the client to have prosthetic training by the therapist. The training should address their specific functional goals.
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