Recommendations vary regarding the best age to fit myoelectric hand prostheses in children for the first time. In an effort to compare prosthetic skill, prosthetic use, and risk for rejection between children fitted with myoelectric hand prostheses before or after 30 months of age, researchers found no advantages to fitting myoelectric hand prostheses before 30 months of age, and that most children fitted with myoelectric hand prostheses before four years old became regular users.
Nine children were fitted with the prostheses before 30 months of age, and a control group of 27 children were fitted with the device after the age of 30 months. The Skills Index Ranking Scale was used to classify prosthetic skill, and prosthetic use was categorized based on wearing time and pattern, according to the study published online September 14 in Prosthetics and Orthotics International. Independent samples tests were used to compare data between groups. Survival analysis was used to estimate and compare the risk of prosthesis rejection between groups and over time.
The participants in the test group showed early prosthetic skill, but the children in the control group had caught up with them by the age of three and a half years. The children in the test group had a significant decrease in prosthetic use at the age of nine years, and in the long term, had a higher percentage of prosthesis rejection, the study reported.