History of Prosthetics
Prosthetic care goes back to the fifth
Egyptian Dynasty (2750-2625 B.C.); archaeologists have unearthed the oldest
known splint from that period. The earliest known written reference to an artificial
limb was made around 500 B.C., Herodotus wrote of a prisoner who escaped
from his chains by cutting off his foot, which he later replaced with a wooden
substitute. An artificial limb dating from 300 B.C., was
a copper and wood leg unearthed at Capri, Italy in 1858.
In 1529, French surgeon, Ambroise
(1510-1590) introduced amputation as a lifesaving measure in medicine. Soon after,
Pare started developing prosthetic limbs in a scientific manner. In 1863,
Dubois L Parmelee of New York City made an improvement to the attachment
of artificial limbs. He fastened a body socket to the limb with atmospheric
pressure. He was not the first person to do so, but he was the first person
to do so with satisfactory results. In 1898, Dr. Vanghetti invented an
artificial limb that could move with through muscle contraction.
In 1946, a major advancement was
made in the attachment of lower limbs. A suction sock for the above-knee
prosthesis was created at University of California (UC) at Berkeley. In
1975, Ysidro M. Martinez' invention of a below-the-knee prosthesis avoided
some of the problems associated with conventional artificial limbs. Martinez,
an amputee himself, took a theoretical approach in his design. He did not
attempt to replicate the natural limb with articulated joints in the ankle
or foot which is seen by Martinez as causing poor gait. His prosthesis
has a high center of mass and is light in weight to facilitate acceleration
and deceleration and reduce friction. The foot is considerably shorter
to control acceleration forces, reducing the friction and pressure.
The history of prosthetics and amputation
surgery begins at the very dawning of human medical thought. In the three
great western civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome the first true rehabilitation
aids recognized as prostheses were made.
of Artificial Eyes
French surgeon Ambrose Pare could also have laid claim to be the father of facial prosthetics,
making artificial eyes from enameled gold, silver, porcelain and glass.
of Prosthetics and Orthotic
The JPO Online Library contains
all issues of the Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics dating back to its
inception in 1989, in a fully searchable format. It is presented by the
American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, as a service to clinicians
General Information about Prosthetics
What are the causes of amputation?
How large is the amputee population?
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