Thanks to modern medical advances, many people are able to enjoy a higher quality of life better than ever before. Medical devices, such as prosthetic devices, have come a very long way since the dawn of human civilization (if you can believe it), and are only getting better by the day. That being said, where do prosthetic devices come from?
Prosthetic devices are actually older than credit is given for. The earliest prosthetic devices are found in ancient Egypt, and Rome. Ancient Egyptians may actually be responsible for creating the first true prosthesis, a big wooden toe that belonged to a Noblewoman was found dating as far back as 950 BC! The toe was likely a cosmetic choice so the woman, even without a big toe, could still use and operate those prestigious sandals that human ancestors were known for. Although Ancient Egyptians may have the first true prosthesis, by far the most famous early prosthetic goes to General Marcus Sergius of Ancient Rome. Marcus is the first recorded human to have a prosthetic hand, his was an iron gauntlet that was constructed and fixed to his arm so he could still use a shield properly in battle. Marcus served as a general in the Roman military from 218 BC to 201 BC. It’s truly fascinating how creative people were when their medical knowledge and expertise weren’t anywhere close to where it is today.
The first true modern leaps in prosthetic devices and amputations were made by a man named Ambroise Paré. Ambroise helped introduce amputation as a life saving measure (around 1529) and among his other inventions created a kneeling peg leg with a fixed prosthetic foot and locking knee joint. These inventions shaped the future for prosthetics as known today. Though Ambroise Paré made advancements in the 1500s, it wasn’t until the 1900s that true modern prosthetic devices were fabricated. Modern prosthetic devices, instead of being made with wood, are made with a wide variety of materials including: acrylic resin, carbon fiber, thermoplastics, silicone, aluminum, and titanium. In addition to the materials, a wide variety of devices can also be made to fit almost any need. This includes: hands, legs, arms, feet, toes, fingers, eyes, etc. Of course, medical research still isn’t at a halt and improvements are being made to prosthetic devices every day.