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news News Wednesday, February 28, 2018 Wednesday, February 28, 2018 1:03 PM - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 1:03 PM

Cosmetic prosthetics boost confidence for teens with limb differences

Cosmetic prosthetics boost confidence for teens with limb differences

Like many kids with an upper extremity limb difference, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City patient Berrett – who was born with phocomelia, a rare congenital syndrome that caused her right arm to not develop – grew up figuring out how to do most things with one arm, with the help of occupational therapy. But now that she is a teenager, having a cosmetic arm has become more important. 

Berrett, 14, has incredible confidence, but going places where there are a lot of strangers means she has to brace herself for people staring or stopping her with questions, such as “What happened to your arm?” She’s used to the attention and graciously answers,“I was born that way.”

As Berrett prepared to enter high school this fall, she was eagerly anticipating new opportunities – like prom – where she might find herself more self-conscious about her physical difference.

Berrett worked with her prosthetist in the Salt Lake City Shriners Hospital Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) – West, LLC department, to create a custom-fit cosmetic prosthetic device. Her prosthetist, recognizes what an incredible gift it is to allow Berrett and other children, to sometimes just blend in so they can focus on being a kid.

The whole process was incredibly fast, taking only about a month. She named her prosthesis "James," after the practitioner who made it for her. “I was excited to surprise my friends with my new arm,” said Berrett. “I'm already planning outfits with shirts that aren't hemmed at the shoulder!”

Read the entire article in Leaders in Care,