Researchers from the Netherlands sought to explore the reasons children and adolescents with unilateral congenital transradial deficiency have for using or rejecting a prosthesis. They found that cosmesis was the primary factor for wearing a prosthesis and not because of limited functionality. They also noted that peer-to-peer contact offered support during social integration and should be embedded in the healthcare process. The study was published online in the June 24 issue of the journal PLoS One.
Children with unilateral congenital transradial deficiency seem to function well with or without a prosthesis. Finding that the reasons for acceptance of prosthetic use by this population are underexplored in the literature, the researchers completed one week of online focus-group interviews with 42 children and early and late adolescents who ranged in age from eight to 20 years old. Interviews were also conducted with 16 parents and 19 healthcare professionals. Non-wearers were represented by participants who had experience with prostheses and participants without previous prosthetic experience. Myoelectric prostheses were the most popular among wearers
Cosmesis was considered to be the prime factor for choosing and wearing a prosthesis, considered especially useful in avoiding stares and teasing. Being able to experience activities of daily life in a normal way, to grip with the impaired upper limb, and curiosity about whether the prosthesis offered more dexterity also led participants to opt for prosthetic use. Some prosthetic users also considered wearing a prosthesis as something beneficial for muscle development, locomotion, posture, and balance.
The main reasons for rejecting prosthetic use were its weight, limited functionality, lack of sensory feedback from the residual limb, and fatigue and use from pain. Study participants who were non-prosthetic users agreed that while a prosthesis was helpful in daily life and sports, they functioned well without it, and that once they were accepted socially, they felt that a prosthesis was no longer necessary.