24 October 2012
Can Anybody Lend A Hand?
Prosthetic limbs all started with a very simple problem. Do you just give up hope when you lose an arm or a leg, or is there some other way to make the best of a situation? Hope was not given up by us persistent human beings and that is how artificial limbs were thought of. Instead trying to get around, we thought of artificial legs to help those who have lost them. Instead of only having one arm, we thought of artificial arms to be able to have two again. Prosthesis not only brought hope to those who were seriously injured and lost their limbs, but it helped these people bring their lives back to as normal as it could be. Of course prosthesis did not start off as being perfect and high tech, but they slowly progressed throughout thousands of years to the technology we have today, as well as the ideas we have for the future.
Artificial limbs date back all the way to the times of the ancient Egyptians. These were very basic prosthetics and were made from the materials they had readily available such as wood, iron or leather. Alan J. Thurston discusses the early Egyptian prosthetic, “One of the earliest examples comes from the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt in the reign of Amenhotep II in the fifteenth century BC when members of an Egyptian–German mission working in the Sheikh Abdel-Gurna area of the Theban necropolis were carefully brushing away accumulated dirt from the burial shaft inside the rockhewn tomb of Mery, a priest of Amun. The mummy that is on display in the Cairo Museum has clearly had the great toe of the right foot amputated and replaced with a prosthesis manufactured from leather and wood (Fig. 1).2 An even older example comes from the fifth Egyptian dynasty (2750–2625 BC) discovered by archaeologists, as being the earliest known splint from that period” (Thurston 1114). The ancient Egyptians and other early cultures to use prosthetics did so not only for the...