Touch Bionics, Hilliard, Ohio, introduces ProDigits, a powered bionic finger solution for patients with missing fingers that gives partial-hand patients a dexterous powered solution to support their return to function and independence.

Sockets are custom-designed and fabricated by clinicians to suit each individual’s specific needs.

The articulating digit underpins much of the technical advantage, and the articulation provides the biggest benefit to the patient, says a statement from the company. With the ability to bend, touch, pick up, and point, the device, when used within an overall prosthesis, reflects the function of a natural hand, it says.

"Partial-hand amputation represents the largest group of arm amputees, and with ProDigits we finally have a functional state-of-the-art myoelectric prosthesis that we can offer this previously underserved amputee population," said Jack Uellendahl, CPO, clinical prosthetics specialist, Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, in the statement. "With ProDigits, each finger is capable of being a stand-alone functional unit, allowing for fitting of many different configurations of hand absence. In addition, the movement of the ProDigit prosthesis is natural in appearance, delivering a more elegant solution to partial-hand restoration than previously possible.

Because of the personalized nature of each ProDigits fitting, the company is developing a clinical collaborator program in North America in which it will partner with practitioners to fit patients. Tthe company has established relationships and distribution channels in more than 40 countries worldwide.

There are two control strategies that can be employed to power ProDigits: either myoelectric sensors that register muscle signals from the residual finger or palm, or a pressure-sensitive switch input in the form of a force sensitive resistor (FSR), or touch pad, which relies on the remnant digit or tissue surrounding the metacarpal bone to provide the necessary pressure to activate the finger. A stall feature allows the device to detect when it has closed around an object, allowing users to point single digits and configure the hand in various grip patterns.

A range of coverings are available. Some patients opt for the high-tech clear and black robotic skins, while others prefer a LIVINGSKIN option. The latter, a high-definition silicone solution is used to provide a human-like restoration to the combined limb and prosthesis for a comprehensive prosthetic restoration.

"Vocational and social reengagement is very important to a patient’s rehabilitation after a traumatic event. Partial-hand injuries are, by their nature, challenging aesthetically and functionally," said Stuart Mead, CEO, Touch Bionics. "With ProDigits, our goal is to provide all that we can to reinstate a patient’s function and interaction with other people in their chosen lifestyle and career."

According to the company:

* The partial-hand amputee population is considerable, estimated at around 40,000 in the United States and 1.2 million worldwide.

* A two-finger amputation will translate into 20% to 40% hand impairment (depending on which fingers are affected), and close to 11% to 22% whole-person impairment—ie overall disability profile, including both physical and psychological metrics.

* Thumb loss will significantly contribute to the impairment of an individual with digital amputations as the total thumb represents 40% hand impairment. Single ProDigit thumb fittings have demonstrated an excellent return to function.

* Without a prosthesis there is the risk of overuse syndrome, also referred to as repetitive stress injuries, which is associated with unilateral hand loss and excessive use of the intact hand.

* Candidates must have amputation of one or more fingers at the transmetacarpal level or higher. It is possible to support candidates with a portion of the finger remaining.

[Source: Touch Bionics]