Bamboozled…A prosthesis under $50?

I recently saw an article for a “low cost prosthesis” and was immediately intrigued.  I have been searching for a solution that is affordable for Guatemala, and I thought this might just be the ticket.  After reading the article, however; I realized the advertised prosthesis was not low cost unless you factor in the use of donated components.

Using donated pieces and parts is a solution, but is not a long term or sustainable avenue.  I have struggled with using new versus used components as well, along with determining what is appropriate for the activity level and environment of the patient.  My conclusion is that we must think outside of the idea of donations and find manufactures that will discount products for the developing world and pay them for it.  I believe that there are great possibilities for creating relationships with manufacturers that want to change the world and together we can develop a prosthesis that is durable, cost effective, and built with all new components.  A prosthesis like this will allow all amputees throughout the world access to a brand new prosthesis, custom-made for them.

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Bamboozled…A prosthesis under $50?

  1. Could you provide a link to the article you mention here? Thanks – David

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for stopping by the blog! I have been to the ROMP lab in Zacapa and it is fantastic. There are many articles on low cost prosthetics and there has been at least one in the latest issue of one of the O&P magazines.

      Brent

  2. Joe

    I think the best solution for the componentry dilemma is to organize a charity company seeking second-hand componentry donations from large facilities (often times they have donated componentry sitting around) and large manufacturers around the world to give to facilities in developing countries. And I think the only things required for an everyday prosthesis is a suspension system, foot and plastic as well as an experienced technician – that’s really all you need now.

  3. Joe

    What do you mean?

    • Any other ideas about fabrication or working in a third world environment?

      • Joe

        One could fabricate a thermoplastic monolithic (socket and pylon) prosthesis with a donated foot and shuttle lock (or other suspension system) 36 hours after casting at ~$20 for materials and it’ll be lighter, more dynamic (since the pylon will have energy storage capabilities), and more comfortable than anything in the Western world. It’s a great option for developing countries. I am aware that this exact method has been taught to a major Haitian clinic but unaware whether it’s still used because of the secondary sociopolitical factors. Moreover, the monolithic prosthetic design has been a proven successful for decades in the States.

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