The dilemma facing physicians and prosthetists is to determine when our admittedly limited prosthetic armamentarium will add a measure of function to diminish the substantial loss faced by the partial-hand amputee. Those who elect to wear a prosthesis do so for specific reasons, and the foundation for successful prosthetic-orthotic design is therefore careful assessment of the amputee’s expectations and needs.
Aesthetic loss, protection, and prehension are all viable rationale for providing a patient a prosthesis at this level. The common denominator in all these prostheses is that they must be individualized carefully to perform the specific tasks desired by the amputee. For example, the configuration to permit a landscape worker to handle shovels, rakes, and the like will differ significantly from the contours necessary to permit a chef to use cooking utensils.