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What Is a Finger Prosthetic?

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  • Written By: Jillian O Keeffe
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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A prosthetic is an artificial limb that is used in place of one that has been amputated. If a person lacks a finger, a finger prosthetic can help both to recreate the natural look of an entire hand, and may also be useful for grasping and movement. Commonly made from silicone rubber, the finger can be colored and textured to look like a natural finger, and can be modeled to fit perfectly on a finger stump and hold on just through suction.

Manufacturers of prostheses may be able to model a finger prosthetic on a natural finger, if the missing finger's opposite number is still present on the other hand. Molds need to be taken, both of the finger to be copied, and the remainder of the finger, if it is present. Alternatively, the manufacturers can make a natural looking replica taking into account the appearance of the remaining fingers, or taking an educated guess on the most normal appearance relative to skin tone, age and sex of the person. Typically, the most natural result is obtained by using silicone rubber as the material, and the manufacturer applies the coloration of the surface painted under a variety of different light sources.

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If the person has a portion of the finger remaining on the hand, the finger prosthetic can be attached over this. Usually, the end of the prosthetic is hollow and this fits over the remainder of the finger. Simple suction holds on the silicone rubber prosthetic onto the remnant of the natural finger. If the finger is entirely absent from the hand, then the finger prosthetic has to be made another way as it does not have the finger base as an anchor.

For example, a neighboring finger can be used as a support for the new finger prosthetic. Cleverly, some artificial fingers are held onto the next closest finger, and the prosthetic then molded to the rest of the hand using medical grade adhesive. A finger prosthetic that contains more than one finger is also possible, and this may be extended to use the entire hand as an anchor.

Fingers are necessary for efficient handling of objects, and the addition of an artificial finger can be strong and stable enough to give the person back some of the manual grip that was previously affected. After the prosthetic is fitted, though, the person may need some time to properly learn how to use the hand. Cosmetic appearance is also an advantage of a finger prosthesis, if the person feels the missing finger is too prominent a feature.

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