Prosthetic limbs are devised to assist with easy and natural mobility in place of limbs that have been removed or severed due to accidents, sports injuries or other damage. Artificial limbs are designed to follow the natural movement of legs and arms that have been lost allowing the individual to enjoy a good quality of life.
Prosthetic limbs can operate as basic devices that facilitate functionality or be used to provide a full range of motion allowing the individual to participate in all sorts of different activities. Artificial limbs can also be configured to give the appearance of natural limbs.
As with any other device, the more complicated the design and varied range of motion of the limb, the higher will be its cost factor. Depending on the limb’s model and functionality, lower leg prosthesis prices can vary from $5,000 to $50,000. The limb’s design will also take into account the individual’s age, types of daily activities, health factors as well as their profession so that it can be customised to their specific needs.
In addition, the choice of material from which the artificial leg will be constructed will also determine the price range for the prosthetic. Lower limb prosthesis can either be body powered or electronic which will also contribute to the expense involved.
For artificial limbs that come with more enhanced features and additional parts such as detachments and inner liners to prevent blistering, the cost component can reach up to $8,500 for one leg. When attaching flexible feet to the leg the cost can be an additional $7,000. The different parts for prosthetic legs come at additional costs.
For instance, getting a part that allows women to wear heels requires purchasing an ankle that will adjust the foot’s shape, can cost up to $2,500 while a bionic foot which is a more advanced design and has the potential to adapt itself to a bumpy ground can incur costs of up to $35,000.
Simpler models of prosthetic legs will surely cost less and are typically what is offered by the public health services. But these legs have relatively limited movement options and may only be moving slightly at the ankle. Funding options for Australians vary in every state and territory along with the expenses incurred making repairs to the artificial limbs as well as purchasing prosthetic additions.
A very advanced model of leg prosthetics known as the bionic leg is currently only available to military personnel and comes at a hefty cost of $150,000. The bionic prosthetic offers a wide range of flexible movements and its next version is being designed to allow the wearer to use it for swimming as well. With additional new features the leg is hoped to provide its wearers with as much functionality as is possible with an artificial limb.
The cost of the bionic leg will be borne by Australian taxpayers and for the majority of non-military folk the cost will be too expensive to afford. Artificial limbs have also been used widely on paralympians to allow them to make the most of their athletic skills.
1) All About Prosthetics: https://www.cbm.org.au/content/our-work/resources-and-factsheets/prosthetic-limbs#.U2KM8qLueSo
2) Mobility comes at a high cost: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/mobility-comes-at-a-high-cost-20120616-20gnj.html
3) Getting an artificial leg up: http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/leg/