Here’s some great news for people who’ve lost limbs, like the survivors of the Boston Marathon attack.
Experts say the options for getting artificial limbs, and returning to a full and active life have never been better. In fact, researchers at an amputee clinic – run by UC Davis – say there are so many types of prosthetic arms, feet, and legs available today, that they can be mixed and matched and customized depending on a patient’s needs.
For example: Many of the latest devices have built-in micro-processors, and come with titanium and carbon fiber parts. That means they can absorb any shock, and adjust for the impacts of walking, running, jumping, or even climbing. And unlike prosthetic limbs of the past, today’s devices are waterproof, dust-proof, and corrosion-free.
Experts say a lot of the new limb technology comes from the fact that recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced more than 15-hundred military amputees. And as morbid as it sounds, the more people we see walking around with artificial limbs in public, the more people invest in prosthetic technology – which helps drive down the cost of new artificial limbs. That’s why a typical “bionic” leg that once cost more than $50-thousand dollars now starts around $5-thousand dollars.
But know this: Most orthopedic surgeons say the simpler limbs are the best. Because unless you’re a professional marathon runner, for example, you don’t need a high-end artificial knee with a micro-processor to help you walk around and feel “normal” again.