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Prosthet Orthot Int. 2007 Sep;31(3):236-57.

Upper limb prosthesis use and abandonment: a survey of the last 25 years.

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Bloorview Research Institute, Toronto, and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


This review presents an analytical and comparative survey of upper limb prosthesis acceptance and abandonment as documented over the past 25 years, detailing areas of consumer dissatisfaction and ongoing technological advancements. English-language articles were identified in a search of Ovid, PubMed, and ISI Web of Science (1980 until February 2006) for key words upper limb and prosthesis. Articles focused on upper limb prostheses and addressing: (i) Factors associated with abandonment; (ii) Rejection rates; (iii) Functional analyses and patterns of wear; and (iv) Consumer satisfaction, were extracted with the exclusion of those detailing tools for outcome measurement, case studies, and medical procedures. Approximately 200 articles were included in the review process with 40 providing rates of prosthesis rejection. Quantitative measures of population characteristics, study methodology, and prostheses in use were extracted from each article. Mean rejection rates of 45% and 35% were observed in the literature for body-powered and electric prostheses respectively in pediatric populations. Significantly lower rates of rejection for both body-powered (26%) and electric (23%) devices were observed in adult populations while the average incidence of non-wear was similar for pediatric (16%) and adult (20%) populations. Documented rates of rejection exhibit a wide range of variance, possibly due to the heterogeneous samples involved and methodological differences between studies. Future research should comprise of controlled, multifactor studies adopting standardized outcome measures in order to promote comprehensive understanding of the factors affecting prosthesis use and abandonment. An enhanced understanding of these factors is needed to optimize prescription practices, guide design efforts, and satiate demand for evidence-based measures of intervention.

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