of Prosthetic Devices
devices have existed for centuries. Originally prosthetics were simply
replacements for missing limbs, but now they help people have extremely
active lives. Such improvements have been made possible because of
new surgical techniques, the advancement of components for making prosthetics,
and creative engineering ideas.
a timeline recounting the significant dates and developments for prosthetics.
Aia Paec (Ai
Apec), a Peruvian god, was missing one of his arms below his elbows.
the Aztec god of creation and revenge, did not have a right foot.
New Hah, an
Irish god, was a left arm amputee who had a four fingered prosthetic hand
made of silver.
grandson of Zeus, killed by his father Tantalus was to be eaten by
the gods, but Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture, ate Pelops' shoulder.
When she realized what she did, she brought him back to life, giving him
an ivory shoulder.
5th C BC
An Indian poem,
Rig-Veda, is the first recorded document about a prosthesis. The poem tells
the tragic story of Queen Vishpla, a warrior, who lost her leg in battle.
After the battle, she had an iron prosthesis made, and she was able to
go back to battle.
included a character with a prosthetic leg in his play "Birds."
1st C BC
The Roman general
named Marcus Sergius guided his troops against Carthage in the Second Punic
War and suffered over 20 injuries, including the loss of his right arm.
An iron hand was created so that he could fight for the rest of the war.
Because of his amputation, he was not allowed to be a priest because he
did not have two hands.
Most of the
prosthetics during Roman times were just wooden or steel pegs.
discovered bronze peg prosthetic. Although it was rusted, it is the
oldest usable artifact of a prosthetic. It is still recognizable
so that one could see how it connected to one's body.
knight Gotz von Berlichingen (1480-1562) is known as the German Robin Hood
because he defended the serfs from the rich. He had to have his right
arm amputated after the Battle of Landshut because a cannon ball caused
his sword to fall and cut his arm. Gotz had two prosthetic iron hands
to replace his right arm. Gotz's were different than previous prosthetic
limbs; he was able to move each joint by setting one hand which was settled
by a release and springs. The hand could move because of hanging leather
introduced amputation to the medical community. He is considered
the father of prosthetics. In 1536, he made an artificial limb for
the arm and elbow and created other limbs later.
Verduyn, a Dutch Surgeon, developed the first non-locking prosthesis for
below the knee. This is the basis for the current joint and corset
Sir James Syme
described his method for ankle amputation. Before this procedure,
the technique used amputated at the thigh. By amputating at the ankle,
the patient could have the possibility to walk again. The longer
leg length allowed an artificial foot to bear a typical weight.
In Capri, Italy,
the oldest known copper and wood leg (dated 300 B.C.) was discovered.
Researchers determined it was from 300 BC.
Civil War caused the start of the American prosthetics field.
It is reported
that there were at least 30,000 amputations on the Union side alone.
for prosthetics from the time Civil War were usually familiar and tried
to depict the primitive technology
Amputation being performed in a hospital tent, Gettysburg, July 1863.
United States entered World War I late, not as many Americans suffered
as the European nations. But prosthetics were further enhanced because
of telephones and phone directories. Medical doctors were able to
place illustrated ads, creating more customers.
Sample ads from a Chicago phone book (http://www.prosthetics-culture.org/history/history.html)
operates on a U.S. soldier in an underground operating room on December
the low amount of amputees during World War I, there were not any significant
prosthetic developments until World War II. Because World War II
veterans found the current technology insufficient, those in the medical
field saw the need for necessary advancements.
United States government made a deal with some military companies to improve
prosthetics rather than weapons. In addition, the government standardized
prosthetics training, instead of the previous apprenticeships, as well
as increased funding for engineering research at universities. Because
of the expanded awareness, people started to understand more about artificial
created a functional moving fake hand. Soon after Americans successfully
developed an entire working arm. Although moving prosthetics were made
decades ago, they have not become popular until recently because now they
are more comfortable.
trying to develop prosthetics for animals who suffer from disease and damaged
Braces for a colt amputee