Factors That Impact the Cost of Prosthetics

Factors That Impact the Cost of Prosthetics

When you look at prosthetics, you may notice they can be costly. These are the factors that impact the cost of prosthetics. It’s important to understand why prosthetics cost what they do, and what affects their price on the market.

Type of Amputation

The type of amputation a person has is a critical factor that impacts the cost of prosthetics. For example, above-the-knee amputations are far more expensive to create a prosthetic for than below-the-knee amputations. For arm prosthetics, above-the-elbow prosthetics are more expensive than below-the-elbow prosthetics. The type of amputation the person has will drastically change the cost of a prosthetic.

The Molding Process

Many different molding processes create prosthetics, and each can have a different impact on their cost. Some prosthetics use 3D printing processes to create their mold, while others use processes like reaction injection molding for medical applications. The molding process for creating a prosthetic impacts how much the prosthetic will cost.

The Complexity of the Prosthetic

To put it simply, a complex prosthetic has a higher cost. Simple models with fixed positions or few pivot points are the least expensive options. Complex models, like those used for walking on uneven ground, will cost more. High-performance models used for athletics, such as running and jumping, are the most expensive prostheses. The more complex the prosthetic is, the more it will cost the consumer.

The Appearance of a Prosthetic

The appearance of a prosthetic also plays a role in its price. Functional prosthetics that don’t look functional are generally the cheapest options. Prosthetics designed to look more natural can have a much higher price tag. The more realistic the appearance of a prosthetic, the more costly it is.

Joint Mechanisms

Joint mechanism devices add to the cost of a prosthesis. For example, simple knee mechanisms can lock for standing and walking, and unlock for sitting. Complex knee mechanisms are weight-activated, and lock when there is enough weight on the leg. Computer-controlled hydraulic mechanisms are the most expensive, and use sensors to monitor movement for natural walking and sports. Different joint mechanisms come with different price tags depending on how complex they are.

The Time It Takes to Receive a Prosthetic

In an interesting study, scientists found that the time it takes to receive a prosthetic correlates to its cost. Patients generally receive cheaper prosthetics quickly. More expensive prosthetics take longer to receive and cost patients significantly more.

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TWB Editorial