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How to get a Prosthetic Arm

This is your information hub on obtaining a prosthetic arm and we'll explore the following:

  1. Do I need a prosthetic arm if I have a limb difference?

  2. The journey of getting prosthetic arm

  3. What prosthetic arms are available?

  4. Interested in a Koalaa soft prosthetic arm?

For some individuals with limb difference and limb loss, they might choose to search the market for assistive technology and prosthetics to assist them with tasks and activities!


This has led to the development of awesome devices that can help in a variety of ways. If you're searching for answers on how to obtain a prosthetic arm and decide if they’re the right choice for you, here is a great place to start!

 

Do I need a prosthetic arm if I have a limb difference?


You might be feeling unsure as to whether you need a prosthetic arm if you have a limb difference. The experience of living with a limb difference is completely unique to each individual.


Questions often arise about whether someone with a limb difference needs to wear a prosthetic arm. The answer is not a simple yes or no, the decision to wear a prosthetic arm is deeply personal and influenced by lots of factors and most importantly is your choice. There’s no right or wrong way!


Functionality and Daily Activities


For some individuals with a limb difference, a prosthetic arm can offer increased functionality and independence in daily activities. Depending on the person’s limb difference and the specific tasks that they would like to accomplish, a prosthetic arm can provide support in actions such as grasping objects, manipulating tools, or performing self-care tasks. For other people with a limb difference, they don’t require or wish to seek additional support and choose not to wear a prosthetic as it isn’t required, which is equally okay!



Social Factors


Some individuals find that wearing a prosthetic arm can help with their self-confidence and self-esteem for aesthetic purposes. Depending on a person’s individual circumstances and culture, a prosthetic can help them feel more integrated in social and professional settings if it is something they feel conscious of or prefer to wear. For others, however, they choose not to wear a prosthetic arm out of a celebration of difference and diversity and feeling confident in who they are - it’s important to remember that everyone is on their own confidence journey and have different perceptions. A person can feel confident with or without wearing a prosthetic!

Kayaking with a prosthetic arm

Lifestyle and Personal Choices


Lifestyle plays a significant role in the decision to wear a prosthetic arm. Activities such as sports, hobbies, and profession can influence this choice. Some individuals may find that a prosthetic arm can improve their ability to participate in certain activities such as cycling, yoga or kayaking, making it a valuable addition to their lives. On the other hand, some people would choose not to wear one as they feel they can engage in activities without needing a prosthetic and might find a prosthetic gets in the way or hinders their ability when taking part.



Medical Considerations


Medical factors, such as the condition of the limb if a person has just had surgery comes into play. In cases where wearing a prosthetic arm might cause discomfort, skin irritation, or other health issues, individuals may choose not to use one.


Evolving Technologies and Appearance


Advancements in prosthetic technology have led to increasingly sophisticated and functional prosthetic arms. Some individuals may be drawn to these innovations, with sleek designs and vibrant self expressive covers.


When discussing prosthetics some people imagine a device that is intentionally designed to look like an arm or hand but there are many prosthetics out there that do not try to replicate the look of an arm or hand. However, others find that these do not align with their personal preferences and choose not to wear a prosthetic.


Ultimately, the decision to wear a prosthetic arm with a limb difference is a personal one that is influenced by a multitude of factors. It's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some individuals find great value and empowerment in wearing a prosthetic arm, while others choose not to for reasons that are equally valid.

 

The journey of getting a prosthetic arm


1. Consultation and Evaluation


The journey to obtaining a prosthetic arm begins with a consultation with a prosthetist or trained professional who specialises in creating and fitting prosthetics. During this initial step, the prosthetist will evaluate your medical history, type of limb difference you have, and goals. The information gathered will help determine the most suitable prosthetic arm design and features for your individual wants and needs. It's important to have realistic expectations and to understand that while prosthetic arms are highly advanced, they may have limitations based on individual circumstances which is why it’s crucial to consult an experienced professional.


2. Customisation and Design


One of the most exciting aspects of the prosthetic arm journey is the customisation process. Prosthetic arms are not one-size-fits-all; they are made to match your unique preferences and functional requirements. From the choice of colours and design which aligns with your personal style and expression! Some prosthetic providers offer different covers for your prosthetic.


At Koalaa our prosthetics are secured in place with a soft, fabric cover. The choice is yours as to whether you want to stand out or blend in, we have an awesome range of covers which are designed in house by our very own designers.


To browse our sleeve cover designs, click the button below!



Getting measured for a prosthetic arm

3. Fitting and Alignment


Once the suitable design is chosen, the prosthetist will proceed with the measuring and fitting process. This involves ensuring that the prosthetic arm aligns correctly with your limb and body. Proper alignment is essential for optimal comfort, functionality, and overall effectiveness of the prosthetic arm.



4. Training and Practice


Adapting to a prosthetic arm requires patience and dedicated effort. Training and rehabilitation sessions can help you gradually master the use of your prosthetic arm. These sessions focus on improving mobility, coordination, and muscle strength, ensuring a smooth transition to using the prosthetic arm in your daily activities.


5. Follow-Up


Your journey with a prosthetic arm doesn't end once you've mastered its use. Regular check-ins with your prosthetic provider or clinician is a great idea to address any adjustments, concerns, or improvements needed. Over time, the fit and alignment of the prosthetic arm may require modifications, and staying in touch with your prosthetic provider will ensure its continued effectiveness.


6. Financing Your Prosthetic Arm


The cost of a prosthetic arm can vary significantly based on design complexity, material selection, your location and the prosthetic provider. It's important to explore your options for financing, which may include:


Health insurance: Some health insurance plans cover prosthetic devices, though coverage specifics vary. Review your policy or consult with your insurance provider to understand the extent of coverage for prosthetic arms.


Out-of-Pocket Payment: If insurance coverage is limited or unavailable, some individuals choose to pay for their prosthetic arm out of pocket. Depending on the type of prosthetic and the price point, this can be a significant investment.


Assistance Programs: Non-profit organisations and charities sometimes offer financial assistance or grants to individuals seeking prosthetic limbs. Research local and national organisations that may be able to provide support.


At Koalaa, #ProjectLimitless aims to give every child who needs one access to a prosthetic arm.​ It is a bold ambition, but one that we are trying very hard to accomplish, with the help of some fantastic charities and amazing donors.


In the UK, the project has already provided hundreds of children with a prosthetic arm free of charge, through partnerships with charities including Douglas Bader Foundation, Reach, Limbbo and Limb Power!


7. Embracing a New Chapter


Acquiring a prosthetic arm is filled with new opportunities for many people. For some it means regaining independence in daily tasks or participating in new hobbies and sports which they’ve never tried before.


The journey to obtaining a prosthetic arm can look different from person to person. Remember, the decision to pursue a prosthetic arm is a personal one, and with the right support and guidance, you can confidently move forward, embracing the endless possibilities that lie ahead.

 

What prosthetic arms are available?


There’s a diverse range of options for individuals with upper limb differences. The path to acquiring a prosthetic arm might seem daunting, but with the right guidance and information, it can be a positive stress free experience. Here are some of the different types of prosthetics available:

Yoga balance with a prosthetic arm

Koalaa Soft Prosthetics: At Koalaa we offer intuitive designs that empower users to approach tasks in new ways.


Our soft prosthetics are made from lightweight fabric and are suited to partial hand and below elbow limb differences. Our tools are interchangeable meaning they can help you with hundreds of different activities from daily living to active sports.


Our prosthetics can be fitted by one of our team members in just 15 minutes or via our remote “Limb Buddy” service meaning we can provide prosthetics to users across the world without needing an in-person consultation!


Body-Powered Prosthetics: These prosthetics are operated using body movements. They use cables and harnesses attached to specific body parts, like the opposite shoulder to control the movement of the prosthetic hand or arm. Body-powered prosthetics are known for their simplicity and durability.


Myoelectric Prosthetics: Myoelectric prosthetics use muscle signals from the limb to control the movements of the prosthetic hand or arm. Electrodes placed on the skin pick up the electrical signals generated when the individual contracts or relaxes certain muscles. These signals are then translated into specific movements of the prosthetic limb.


Passive Cosmetic Prosthetics: Cosmetic prosthetics are mostly designed for aesthetic purposes. While they don't offer a great deal of functional movement, they can help some individuals feel more comfortable in social situations.


Exoskeletons: While not traditional prosthetics, exoskeletons are wearable devices that provide external support and mobility assistance. They can help individuals with limited upper limb mobility to perform tasks they might otherwise struggle with. They’re made up of a hard mechanical frame with joints and can be quite pricey!


Playing tennis with a prosthetic arm

Activity-Specific Prosthetics: Some prosthetics are designed for specific activities such as sports. These prosthetics are engineered to provide optimal performance in those particular scenarios.


Osseointegration: Osseointegration involves implanting a metal post directly into the bone of the limb. The prosthetic device can then be attached securely to this implant, this is a more invasive option to prosthetics as it involves surgery.


Working closely with a prosthetist to explore available options is crucial to finding the best fit for each person's unique needs!

 

Interested in a Koalaa soft prosthetic arm?


If you’d like to start your own Koalaa journey, we would love to chat!

Check out our prosthetic arms and tools:


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