Variety, The Children’s Charity NSW and the
Myoelectric Hand Programme

Myoelectric prosthesis is a state-of-the-art artificial arm

Established in 1984 with the vital and ongoing support of Variety, the Children’s Charity (NSW), the Limb Deficiency Clinic at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead runs a Myoelectric prosthetic clinic for children with congenital deficiencies, or amputations of their forearm and hand.

A Myoelectric prosthesis is a state-of-the-art artificial arm where the electromyographic (EMG) signal generated by a contracting muscle can be detected by surface electrodes and used to control the opening and closing of an electric hand. Myoelectric prostheses have become an internationally accepted standard in the treatment of paediatric upper limb deficiencies. The number of children with such disabilities is few, and as such there is only a small number of experienced therapists in this area within Australia and overseas.

The current cost of a Myoelectric arm is $12,000 and young children will generally outgrow their prosthesis within 12 months. Through the ongoing support of the program by Variety, the Children’s Charity (NSW), the hospital is able to provide prosthetic limbs free of charge to families. Funding allows the hospital to purchase a variety of hand sizes, with these electric hands then being reused when the child has grown into the next size.

The very generous gift of $10,000 from the James N. Kirby Foundation to Variety during 2009 has ensured a child received a brand new Myoelectric arm earlier this year.

Nadia Vigna
Occupational Therapist
Back to Story Listing