URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/artificiallimbs.html

Artificial Limbs

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Summary

People can lose all or part of an arm or leg for a number of reasons. Common ones include

  • Circulation problems from atherosclerosis or diabetes. They may cause you to need an amputation.
  • Traumatic injuries, including from traffic accidents and military combat
  • Cancer
  • Birth defects

If you are missing an arm or leg, an artificial limb can sometimes replace it. The device, which is called a prosthesis, can help you to perform daily activities such as walking, eating, or dressing. Some artificial limbs let you function nearly as well as before.

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