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An artificial substitute or replacement of a part of the body such as a tooth, eye, a facial bone, the palate, a hip, a knee or another joint, the leg, an arm, etc. A prosthesis is designed for functional or cosmetic reasons or both.

A prosthesis may be removable, as in the case of most prosthetic legs or a prosthetic breast form used after mastectomy. A person who uses a removable prosthesis – for example, an artificial hand – may want to have more than one available for different types of tasks. Other types of prosthetic devices are permanently implanted, like an artificial hip, testicle or tooth.

With advances in the biomedical sciences, a few experimental prostheses have been integrated with body tissues, including the nervous system. These highly advanced devices can respond to commands from the central nervous system, more closely approximating normal movement and utility.

An auditory prosthesis is a device that substitutes for or enhances the ability to hear. It is more commonly called a hearing aid.

The word “prosthesis” comes via New Latin from the Greek “prostithenai” meaning “to add to, or to put in addition.” The plural of prosthesis is prostheses.

Types of Prostheis and Terms

Corrective, restorative

A device for treating injury or disease

Femoral prosthesis

Glass eye

Prosthesis consisting of an artificial eye made of glass


A prosthesis placed permanently in tissue

Joint prosthesis

The principal example in veterinary surgery is total hip replacement.


A prosthesis used to close an opening (as to close an opening of the hard palate in cases of cleft palate) pegleg, wooden leg, peg, leg - a prosthesis that replaces a missing leg.

Ocular prosthesis

Is used infrequently in animals. It may be fitted in the orbit after enucleation (intraorbital), within the sclera after evisceration of the defective globe (intrascleral), or over the surface of a deformed globe (extrascleral).

Prosthesis cleft palate

n a restoration to correct congenital or acquired defects in the palate and related structures if they are involved.

Prosthesis complete denture

n See denture, complete.

Prosthesis, cranial

n an artificial material (alloplast) used to replace a portion of the skull.

Prosthesis, definitive

n a permanent type that serves as a substitute for missing tissue.

Prosthesis, dental

n a type that serves as an artificial replacement for one or more natural teeth or associated structures.

Prosthesis, expansion

n a type used to expand the lateral segment of the maxilla in unilateral or bilateral cleft of the soft and hard palates and alveolar processes.

Prosthesis, feeding

n a type worn by a young infant with a cleft palate to increase sucking power and to eliminate the escape of food through the nose.

Prosthesis, fixed expansion

n a type that cannot be readily removed and stays in position for the required length of treatment.

Prosthesis, hybrid

n a fixed denture that uses a combination of a metal framework and a complete denture. Also called a high-water prosthesis.

Prosthesis, implant

n See implant prosthesis.

Prosthesis, partial denture

n See denture, partial.

Prosthesis, pediatric speech aid

n a type temporarily used to replace lost tissue in the palate of a child to remedy inarticulate speech. The device may be used to close an opening caused by a developmental defect or surgery.

Prosthesis, periodontal

n a type that is used as a therapeutic adjunct in the treatment of periodontal disease.

Prosthesis, postsurgical

n a type that serves as a replacement for a missing part or parts after surgical intervention.

Prosthesis, removable expansion

n a type that can be removed from the oral cavity and replaced when indicated.

Prosthesis, surgical

n a type that is used to assist in surgical procedures and placed at the time of surgery.

Prosthesis, temporary

n a fixed or removable restoration for which a more permanent appliance is planned within a short period.

Skeletal prosthesis

Not much used in animals, largely because of the great variability in the sizes needed and the small volume required. Human prostheses have been adapted for use in primates.

Urethral prosthesis

Metal or synthetic conduits may be implanted in the treatment of urethral stricture and obstruction in male cats.

glossary/prosthesis.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/16 14:40 (external edit)