Myoelectric Multi-Articulating Hands – Peeling Back the Onion

There have been a number of studies and articles published recently that talk about the various disadvantages of myoelectric hand prostheses, such as fragility, cost, and difficult control.

One of the other key outcomes that was stated in a study is that “clinicians must match the patients’ functional needs with the differential functional profiles of the available multiarticulating hands.” NO hand is perfect!

All of the above is true.

But here is some perspective:

Most myoelectric multi-articulating hands are intended for mild to medium duty activities, most are not waterproof, and as for fragility – they certainly don’t compare to an ETD, just like a sound hand wouldn’t compare to a hammer.

When it comes to cost, many of the new manufacturers that have entered the overcrowded upper limb prosthetic space are pushing the boundary when it comes to cost. No longer are devices coming in at an MSRP of $25K and above. Most new manufacturers are focusing on the PDAC approved codes and pricing things accordingly, so they can serve an underserved population – BrainRobotics is no different. Accessibility has always been one of our main goals.

In the grand scheme of things, what we are saying is that it truly comes down to the individual user and what they are looking to go back to doing.

What types of ADLs do they need to complete on a daily basis? The answer to that question will help drive the conversation towards the right device. It should also be noted in the medical documentation presented to insurance, that a user will likely require another device as they become more accustomed to wearing a prosthesis and become a more proficient user.

What also needs to happen is that realistic goals have to be set. NO device will offer what a sound limb can offer a person. No matter how amazing the marketing may be, no matter how “cool” the perceived functions are, there are limitations with all devices.

Let’s take the virtually indestructible ETD – it may be easy to use with the simple open and close, and it is durable, and waterproof, but what it offers in those features, it often lacks in some of those finer ADLs. If you are someone that works in an office for example, you may need the ability to type, which may be difficult with a hook. It may also be more difficult to pick up small objects, but each user is different!

At BrainRobotics we have always made sure to be realistic in what our myo multi-articulating hand offers. We have focused on Accessibility. Function. & Convenience.

We allow the user to have that ease of use by having them focus on the open and close while also having easy access to their 4 main grips through the press of a button. Easy out of the box functionality.

When a user is ready to add more complexity, they can, but they don’t have to.

We are going to be working with clinicians to make sure they peel back the onion and make sure their patients get the device they need. This will lead to better outcomes in the long run! We of course hope that the BrainRobotics hand will be the right fit, but just like every shoe doesn’t fit every person, neither does a prosthetic device.

Peel back that onion, ask the right questions, set realistic expectations, and the users will be in a much better position for success.

Some of our key highlights can be seen below, but you can learn more about our solution online.

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Here are two of the recent articles we reference above:

The multi-grip and standard myoelectric hand prosthesis compared: does the multi-grip hand live up to its promise?

Differences in Two Multiarticulating Myoelectric Hands for Facilitating Activities of Daily Living in Individuals with Transradial Amputation: A Cross-Sectional Study

Written by Linda Calabria – Senior Product & Marketing Manager at BrainRobotics