People can lose all or part of an arm or leg for a number of reasons. Common ones include
- Circulation problems from atherosclerosis or diabetes. They may cause you to need an amputation.
- Traumatic injuries, including from traffic accidents and military combat
- Birth defects
If you are missing an arm or leg, an artificial limb can sometimes replace it. The device, which is called a prosthesis, can help you to perform daily activities such as walking, eating, or dressing. Some artificial limbs let you function nearly as well as before.
- Limb Prosthetics (Merck & Co., Inc.) Also in Spanish
- Prosthetic Frequently Asked Questions for the New Amputee (Amputee Coalition of America)
- Consumer Guide for Amputees: A Guide to Lower Limb Prosthetics (Amputee Coalition of America)
- Cosmesis: The Art of Making Artificial Limbs Look Lifelike (Amputee Coalition of America)
- Rehabilitation Engineering: What is Rehabilitation Engineering? (National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering) Also in Spanish
- When to Replace a Prosthesis (Amputee Coalition of America)
Statistics and Research
- Bionic Movements: Connecting Mind and Machine (National Institutes of Health)
- Brain-Controlled Prosthetics (Society for Neuroscience)
- Prosthetic Engineering (Department of Veterans Affairs)
- Prosthetics / Limb Loss (Department of Veterans Affairs) - PDF
- Prosthetics and Related Technology (Department of Veterans Affairs) - PDF
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Gender Differences in Psychosocial and Physical Outcomes in Haitian Amputees.
- Article: Narrowing beam-walking is a clinically feasible approach for assessing balance...
- Article: Identifying classifier input signals to predict a cross-slope during transtibial...
- Artificial Limbs -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Limb Loss in Children: Prosthetic Issues (Amputee Coalition of America)
- Senior Health: Older Adults and Newer Technology (Amputee Coalition of America)
- When Are Prostheses the Right Choice for Older Amputees? (Amputee Coalition of America)