Although prosthetic joints and limbs offer mobility to patients who may otherwise be immobile, they do come with some disadvantages. In the case of prosthetic limbs, there is a high initial cost, the limbs are difficult for some patients to learn to use, and regular repair and maintenance are needed. Prosthetic joints, such as prosthetic knees, require extensive and invasive surgery to implant and often offer limited motion.
There are two main types of prosthetic limbs: battery powered and electric limbs. The disadvantage of a battery powered limb, when compared to an electric limb, is a more mechanical appearance. Many people also find battery powered limbs harder to learn how to use since they require the input of more physical strength. Electric limbs are more costly than battery powered limbs, and they are also heavier. The repair cost is higher than for battery powered limbs.
When suffering from severe arthritis in a knee, hip or other large joint, replacing the joint with a prosthetic joint is often a treatment option. Other treatment options include surgical repair of the existing joint and the use of pain medications. Disadvantages of a prosthetic joint, when compared to other options, include an increased risk of surgical complications, rejection by the body of materials used to make the prosthesis, and a limited range of motion when compared to a natural joint.