The development of a low-cost three-dimensional printed shoulder, arm, and hand prostheses for children

Jorge M. Zuniga, Adam M. Carson, Jean M. Peck, Thomas Kalina, Rakesh M. Srivastava, Kirk Peck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Background and aim: The prosthetic options for higher level amputees are limited and costly. Advancements in computer-aided design programs and three-dimensional printing offer the possibility of designing and manufacturing transitional prostheses at very low cost. The aim of this project was to describe an inexpensive three-dimensional printed mechanical shoulder prosthesis to assist a pre-selected subject in performing bi-manual activities. Technique: The main function of the body-powered, manually adjusted three-dimensional printed shoulder prosthesis is to provide a cost-effective, highly customized transitional device to individuals with congenital or acquired forequarter amputations. Discussion: After testing the prototype on a young research participant, a partial correction of the patient’s spinal deviation was noted due to the counterweight of the device. The patient’s family also reported improved balance and performance of some bimanual activities after 2 weeks of using the device. Limitations of the design include low grip strength and low durability. Clinical relevance: The prosthetic options for higher level amputees are limited and costly. The low-cost three-dimensional printed shoulder prosthesis described in this study can be used as a transitional device in preparation for a more sophisticated shoulder prosthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalProsthetics and Orthotics International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation

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