Scientific/Clinical Article| Volume 33, ISSUE 4, P520-527, October 2020

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Social participation in persons with upper limb amputation receiving an esthetic prosthesis


      • Thirteen upper limb amputees, who had received an aesthetic prosthesis, were interviewed.
      • Individual variations concerning the experienced emotional consequences were identified.
      • Adaptation strategies and the role of the prosthesis were described.


      Study Design

      Qualitative study.


      An amputation injury to the hand may lead to not only impaired hand function but also psychosocial consequences.

      Purpose of the Study

      The purpose of the study was to explore personal experiences of social participation for persons provided with an esthetic prosthesis after acquired upper limb amputation.


      Thirteen persons with acquired upper limb amputation, who were in need of and had received an esthetic prosthesis, were interviewed. The transcribed text was subjected to content analysis.


      The emotional reactions to a visibly different hand were linked to a changed appearance and a feeling of being exposed. Recollecting the accident could result in nightmares and sleeping disorders. A change of personality, due to sadness after the amputation was expressed, as well as social insecurity and impact on relations and life roles. Adapting to social challenges comprised hiding or exposing the hand, using personal internal resources and receiving support from others. The esthetic prosthesis contributed to an intact appearance and could serve as a facilitator for initial or long-term social participation. The time that had passed since the injury made it easier to deal with the consequences or in achieving acceptance.


      Coping with emotions and social relations after an acquired amputation can be difficult and complex.


      Individual needs must be considered and questions about appearance and how it may affect social participation must be asked. An esthetic prosthesis can normalize the appearance and offer the confidence needed to facilitate social participation in those struggling with appearance-related concerns.


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      JHT Read for Credit

      Quiz: # 716

      Record your answers on the Return Answer Form found on the tear-out coupon at the back of this issue or to complete online and use a credit card, go to There is only one best answer for each question.
      • # 1.
        The study design is
        • a.
        • b.
        • c.
          case series
        • d.
          single case report
      • # 2.
        Data were gathered using
        • a.
          chart reviews
        • b.
        • c.
          outcome surveys
        • d.
          semi-structured interviews
      • # 3.
        The data collection was performed by
        • a.
          a committee of 10 and included therapists and surgeons
        • b.
          3 therapists
        • c.
          the lead author
        • d.
          a committee of 5 and included social workers and psychologists
      • # 4.
        Participants completed the
        • a.
        • b.
          Short Form 36
        • c.
        • d.
          Mayo Clinic Prosthetic Survey
      • # 5.
        Some, but not all, participants felt an aesthetic prosthesis was of significant benefit in social situations
        • a.
        • b.
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