Prosthetic Devices: Function, Use & Examples

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson defines the concept of a prosthetic device. You'll then learn numerous examples of prosthetic devices as well as some of their general and specific functions.

Prosthetic Devices

Chances are you know of someone who has a prosthetic device, even if you don't think they do. A prosthetic device, very generally, is any device that helps replace, correct or support a body part. In other words, it replaces a part of the body, it corrects a physical deformity or physiological malfunction of some sort or it support a weak or deformed part of the body.

One example of this is dentures. Dentures replace missing body parts, our teeth, as we age! So if you have an elderly family member, there's a good chance they use such a prosthetic device.

Let's go over some other examples of prosthetic devices as well as the purpose of prosthetic devices in general.


Besides dentures, another great example of an intra-oral (within the mouth) prosthetic device is dental implants. Further very well-known examples of prosthetic devices include artificial body parts such as eyes, heart valves, arteries or limbs.

Prosthetic devices also include things we don't often think of as prosthetic but ones that technically are:

  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • Pacemakers
  • Incontinence control devices
  • Orthopedic shoes
  • Braces
  • Bone plates
  • Arm slings
  • Arch supports
  • Penile pumps/implants

And many others.

Two different artificial limbs can be seen here

Function & Use

So what's the purpose of all of these prosthetic devices? The general consideration for all of them is that it helps improve a person's quality of life and increases their independence. Each one also has a specific function and use. Dentures and dental implants help us chew our food. But that's really superficial. The deeper meaning of intra-oral prostheses is that it helps us enjoy food and gain adequate nutrition to keep us alive!

Limb replacement prostheses help people increase their movement and mobility. They may help someone walk or go for a nice run. They may help them open a door or hold a cup of coffee. Much of everything you would do with a natural limb, a person with an advanced prosthetic will be able to do as well.

Hearing aids help people hear their favorite birds sing but also hear potential signs of danger, like a car honking. Eyeglasses help people navigate the world around them, see a beautiful flower and spot a potential danger as well. So, prostheses can literally be life-saving devices. Another good example of the latter is the pacemaker, which can help control abnormal heart rhythms.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account