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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 339-347

Use of silicone finger prostheses in amputee patients: An integrative review

1 Department of Morphology, Genetics, Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry at Araraquara, UNESP- São Paulo State University (FOAr/UNESP), São Paulo, Brazil
2 Department of Clinics and Surgery, School of Dentistry, Federal University of Alfenas, UNIFAL-MG, Alfenas, Brazil
3 Open University of Brazilian Health System, Regional Board of Brasilia, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brasilia, Brazil

Date of Submission26-Apr-2021
Date of Decision19-Sep-2021
Date of Acceptance23-Oct-2021
Date of Web Publication09-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
François Isnaldo Dias Caldeira
Department of Morphology, Genetics, Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry at Araraquara, UNESP- São Paulo State University (FOAr/UNESP), Araraquara, São Paulo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jips.jips_175_21

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This study aimed to perform an integrative review of the literature on the use of silicone finger prostheses in amputee patients. Searches were performed in the PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, Scielo, and Cochrane Library databases until July 2021. Descriptors used in this article were: Silicone, finger, rehabilitation, and prosthesis. Clinical research and clinical reports on silicone finger prostheses, available in full and in English were included. Initially, 152 articles were identified. After establishing the inclusion/exclusion criteria, 23 studies were identified and constituted the final sample. Regarding the publication date of the included studies, 17.2% of them were published between 2012 and 2016. Most of the rehabilitations occurred in India (69.9%; n = 16), and the mean age of patients who used prostheses was 38.1 years. The level of scientific evidence of the included studies was IV and VI. Therefore, patients rehabilitated with silicone finger prostheses highlighted significant improvements in functional range of motion, restoration of self-esteem, advantages in psychological therapy, more pleasant social interaction, and changes in their quality of life.

Keywords: Finger, prosthesis, rehabilitation, Silicone

How to cite this article:
Dias Caldeira FI, Nascimento VA, da Silva Gasque KC, Haddad MF. Use of silicone finger prostheses in amputee patients: An integrative review. J Indian Prosthodont Soc 2021;21:339-47

How to cite this URL:
Dias Caldeira FI, Nascimento VA, da Silva Gasque KC, Haddad MF. Use of silicone finger prostheses in amputee patients: An integrative review. J Indian Prosthodont Soc [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Nov 30];21:339-47. Available from: https://www.j-ips.org/text.asp?2021/21/4/339/330176

  Introdution Top

Human hands play important roles in functional movements performed by human beings, as well as, it is fundamental to interpersonal relationships within society. According to Atroshi and Rosberg,[1] finger amputation is the most incident, corresponding to 1.9 in 100,000 individuals.

However, in cases of crushing and severe lacerations in which microsurgical reconstruction by reimplantation is not advisable, finger rehabilitation with silicone prosthesis becomes a viable option to regain hope and make these patients feel comfortable in their social relationships, improvement in the psychological state with the development of personality, increased confidence and acceptance in society, besides recovering the esthetic and functional aspects of the lost limb.[2],[3],[4]

The finger prostheses can be constructed by several techniques (suspension with medical glue, vacuum, osseointegrated implants, and mechanical attachment on fingers next to the stump). Considering aesthetics of finger prostheses, they must be made with good-quality silicones, that allow optimal reproduction of skin tone by means of extrinsic pigmentation, drawings of wrinkles, striations, and the characterization of fingernails in acrylic resin.[5],[6],[7],[8]

Thus, for the rehabilitation to become usual, it is recommended to use the silicone technique, because it has higher esthetics, function and presents a low financial cost for the patient.[9] With that in mind, this paper sought to conduct the first integrative review of the literature regarding the use of silicone finger prostheses in amputee patients.

  Material And Methods Top

Research strategy and information sources

This research is an integrative review produced by following the methodological rigor described by Hermont et al.,[10] which contribute to new investigations and clinical resolutions by professionals in the dentistry fields. The studies were analyzed critically according to: (i) Selection of the theme and hypothesis, (ii) Establishment of the inclusion/exclusion criteria of the studies; (iii) Information to be extracted from the articles; (iv) Evaluation of the quality of the studies; (v) Critical analysis of the results and their contributions; (vi) Capacity to produce scientific knowledge.

Guiding question

The central question was framed to address a study question based on population, interest, context:[11] “What are the studies that have evaluated the use of silicone finger prostheses in amputee patients?”

  • Population = Patient with the amputated finger
  • Interest = Impact of silicone prosthesis
  • Context = Rehabilitation of patients with finger prostheses.

Strategic search

The search strategy consisted of a bibliographic survey in PubMed, EMBASE (Excerpta Medica Database), Web of Science, Scielo (Scientific Electronic Library Online), and Cochrane Library databases, until July 2021. English terms used were “silicone” and “finger” and “rehabilitation” and “prosthesis.” The Boolean algorithm “AND” connected the search terms.

Data collection

Bibliographic searches were exported to the software EndNote Program ™ version X7 (Thomson Reuters, New York, NY, USA) and the duplicates were removed. Review articles, clinical cases of limb rehabilitation, panels, short communications, technical notes, book chapter, in vitro studies, conference abstract publications, and letters to the editor were excluded. Clinical research and clinical articles related to silicone finger prostheses, articles in the English language and available in full were included. The papers were critically appraised in five important methodological steps:

  1. Exclusion of studies by title and abstract
  2. Systematic and critical analysis of the information contained in the clinical case reports
  3. Selection and extraction of data by two independent and calibrated researchers (coauthors F. I. D. C. and V. A. N.). In case of conflicting data and information, a third evaluator (coauthor M. F. H.) was requested
  4. Critical and systematic investigation of all references, searching for articles without keywords
  5. Data were classified according to the tool developed by Melnyk and Fineout-Overholt that categorizes the levels of evidence as follows:[11]

  1. Meta-analysis of controlled studies
  2. Experimental design studies
  3. Quasi-experimental design studies
  4. Experimental studies with nonexperimental design such as descriptive correlational and qualitative research or case studies
  5. Case reports or data obtained systematically of verifiable quality or program evaluation data
  6. Qualitative studies
  7. Opinion of reputable authorities based on clinical competence or opinion of expert committees.

After careful analysis of the evidence levels, data were structured and sorted according to clinical findings on the rehabilitation of patients with silicone finger prostheses as shown in [Table 1]. To highlight the selected articles, they were grouped into themes for discussion.
Table 1: Studies included in the integrative review about the rehabilitation of patients using silicone finger prostheses

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Quality appraisal

Two evaluators (N coauthors F. I. D. C. and V. A.N.) assessed the quality of the studies, separately. Any disagreement was resolved through discussion with a third reviewer (coauthor M. F. H.). The Joanna Briggs Institute checklist was used for qualitative studies.[12] Although there is no standard tool for assessing the quality of qualitative studies, this checklist proved to be effective for this type of analysis as described before.[13],[14] Studies were categorized according to the percentage of positive responses. The risk of bias was classified as high (when the study obtained 49% of “yes” responses), moderate (50% to 69% of “yes” responses), or low (70% of “yes” responses). The Effective Public Health Practice Project: Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies[14] was used for quantitative studies and the articles were scored as strong, moderate, and low as described by Costa et al.[15]

Data from the integrative review were converted into absolute (n) and relative (%) frequencies and analyzed by the statistical software R version 4.0).[16]

  Results Top

Initially, 152 original articles were obtained and, after removing all duplicates, 109 unique citations were retained. Then, the inclusion/exclusion criteria were established, identifying 23 studies that comprised the final sample, as shown in [Figure 1]. In relation to the level of scientific evidence, the studies were classified as level IV and VI.
Figure 1: Flow-diagram of the identification, inclusion, and exclusion process

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It was possible to identify that 17.2% of the articles were published in the years 2012 and 2016, and 13.0% in 2014 [Figure 2]a. Most studies describing the rehabilitation with silicone prosthesis for fingers were developed in India (69.9%; n = 16) [Figure 2]b. The age of the rehabilitated patients ranged from 12 to 84 years, with a mean age of 38.1 years [Figure 2]c. Finally, most studies were indexed in PubMed 57.5% (n = 23) [Figure 2]d.
Figure 2: Main information of the selected articles. (a) Year of publication of the study. (b) Country in which the clinical case report or cross-sectional study was developed. (c) Age of the patients included. (d) Database in which the study is indexed

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[Table 2] represents the methodological quality of the qualitative studies included in this integrative literature review. All the included articles presented low risk of bias, evaluated with 57.2% (n = 12) of yes and five studies reached the maximum score. Questions “4: Is there congruity between the research methodology and the representation and analysis of data?,” “6: Is there a statement locating the researcher culturally or theoretically?,” and “7: Is the influence of the researcher on the research, and vice versa, addressed?” were rated as not applied as they did not fit the type of study. Question nine rated negative.
Table 2: Quality appraisal results: Qualitative studies

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The methodological quality of the quantitative articles is presented in [Table 3]. Studies scored with maximum values in categories of selection bias, blinding, and data collection methods.
Table 3: Quality appraisal results: Quantitative studies

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  Discussion Top

This integrative literature review allowed to highlight studies that have rehabilitated patients with finger prostheses. Identifying such research becomes of fundamental importance since individuals rehabilitated by static or dynamic finger prostheses report an improvement in various functional movements, restoration of the appearance of naturalness, and significant changes in patients' quality of life. Thus, profiles of patients wearing finger prostheses, the use of silicone to manufacture such prosthesis, the use of implant systems, retention devices, and their longevity will be discussed in this review.[17],[18]

Profile of patients using finger prostheses

There was a proportionality between men and women with amputated fingers. Despite that, longitudinal studies show a prevalence of women rehabilitated with silicone finger prostheses.[2],[3],[19] This is justified by the fact that the absence of the limb can significantly interfere with women's social interaction, femininity, and self-confidence, demonstrating that in longitudinal studies the usability and clinical returns were preferentially by female patients.

The mean age of patients rehabilitated with silicone finger prostheses was 38 years, with a range of 12–84 years. Similar results were reported by Bamba et al.[20] in their systematic review of ring avulsion injuries and reaffirmed by Struckmann et al.[21] in their epidemiological studies of finger avulsion. The other significant factor observed in this study was the predominance of clinical case reports in India. The justification for such an incidence is due to the risks of accidents at work, in traffic, and in urban violence. These outcomes could be endorsed by Gupta et al., (2012) in which 26.2% of amputations were associated with accidents at work, as well as 27.8% of cases were related to urban violence and traffic.

Use of silicone in finger prostheses

Studies in this integrative review highlighted the use of silicone as the best material for the rehabilitation of missing fingers.[22],[23],[24],[25],[26],[27] A study conducted in India by Kuret et al.[3] assessing the impact of silicone prosthesis on the performance of motor functions in 42 patients showed that the use of the silicone-made prostheses showed higher scores in motor development, as well as in the satisfaction of their usability. Other studies corroborate such findings in India[17],[28] and in Ghana.[5] Likewise, the use of silicone finger prostheses showed a statistically significant improvement in range of motion, gripping power, cosmetic benefits, and quality of life (psychological state) of patients who opted for this rehabilitation.[2]

Rehabilitation with customized ring wire substructure in finger prosthesis

The use of customized substructures for retention in silicone prosthesis for fingers was another important factor observed in this study. In this sense, a study conducted in India by Ahmad et al.[29] describing the use of a metal substructure for the retention of the silicone prosthesis, showed satisfactory results in relation to the improvement in the psychological state and personality of the patient, after 3-years follow-up. Similarly, the use of structures attached to the prosthesis allowed patients to reestablish self-confidence, function, esthetic sense of the amputated fingers, and the routine use of this artificial finger.[7],[8],[30]

Implant-retained finger prosthesis rehabilitation

The use of implant-retained silicone finger prostheses was also observed in this review. This device aims to promote retention and range of static and dynamic movement for the rehabilitated patient. Rehabilitation with a customized abutment (bone-integrated implant) provided the patient with superior retention compared to conventional prostheses, as well as safety in performing movements in India.[31] These results could be reaffirmed in Brazil by Goiato et al.,[32] Goiato et al.[33] and in Turkey by Aydin et al.[18] However, it was also observed that the high financial cost of installing bone-integrated implants was considered a limitation for its clinical use.

Longitudinal use of finger prostheses

In this context, rehabilitation using silicone finger prostheses has become a great option for patients, because they have been able to restore function and esthetics as demonstrated in longitudinal studies.

O'farrell et al.[19] evaluated the satisfaction and long-term use of custom-made prostheses in fifty prosthetic fingers. Their results showed that careful manufacturing, optimal installation, and longitudinal follow-up of these patients provide a better quality of life. Similarly, these findings could be reaffirmed by a 3-year follow-up clinical case report[29] and by cross-sectional studies.[2],[3]

Partial study limitation

The inclusion of longitudinal clinical studies may be a partial limitation of this review, but they were necessary to expand our comprehension on the use of silicone finger prostheses. In addition, it was possible to identify what are the benefits that these prostheses provide to patients in addition to understanding their manufacturing technique.

  Conclusion Top

Patients rehabilitated with silicone finger prostheses presented significant improvements in functional range of motion, restoration of self-esteem, and changes in quality of life. For this reason, new clinical research on the role and importance of silicone finger prostheses in amputee patients is needed, because the rehabilitation of these individuals is an important factor in functional capacity, providing psychological improvements, as well as promoting a more pleasant social interaction of rehabilitated patients.


We thank the Brazilian Ministry of Education and Culture for sponsoring the Tutorial Education Program - PET at the Federal University of Alfenas for the students' scholarships approved by the 063/2017 call.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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