Using Spectrophotometers for Color Matching Prosthetics: The Future of Limb Replacement Technology

Technology in prosthetics has come a long way, and if you were lucky enough to catch the inspirational commercial on Super Bowl Sunday, you could really see how innovation in this area is changing lives. Five-year-old Braylon stole the hearts of millions when he strut his stuff on state-of-the-art prosthetic legs. Today’s technology in prosthetics not only allows for patients to lead a normal and active lifestyle, but through the use of color technology, realistic looking replacement limbs are also a reality.

Gone are the days of artificial limbs standing out because of significant difference in color. New technology in prosthetics now utilizes spectrophotometric technology to create realistic looking cosmetic covers that match the patient’s skin tone and color. And for some patient’s, this can make a huge difference in their confidence levels.

Utilizing color technology in numerous ways

Spectrophotometric technology has been used in cosmetic restorations for many years. The dental field relies on this technology for orthodontic tooth restorations, in order to provide perfect color matches for quality and aesthetic purposes. This same color-matching technology is used for a variety of cosmetic prosthetic covers as well as skin color analysis in silicon maxillofacial restorations. Precise color matching is extremely important for patients with facial reconstruction needs, when visual appearance is most apparent. Using spectrophotometers to quantify the patient’s exact skin color ensures reproducibility of the silicon replacement materials which will blend in perfectly with the original skin tone. This technology is becoming increasingly popular as the need for restorative skin prosthetics grows with early cancer detection and other various skin conditions which require restoration.

cheek skin prosthetics
Silicon skin restoration relies on color matching in order to provide congruency with natural skin tones. Spectrophotometers allow for precise color analysis and quantification, which makes this exact color matches attainable.
Image Source: Flickr user Leah Tautkute

Spectrophotometers have also gained popularity in pre-assessment of the amputated limb. Biomedical optics utilize this technology to monitor oxygenation throughout the healing process and to ensure that skin conditions will remain the same once new prosthetics are applied. These various uses of spectrophotometry for medical technology and applications make this tool a necessity in today’s healthcare industry and provide quality results for numerous patients.

technology prosthetics
Prosthetic technology has become an advanced science and art, allowing patients to return to an active lifestyle and improved quality of life.
Image Source: Flickr user Department of Foreign Affairs

Spectrophotometers offer true color analysis

Relying on human color perception and analysis for cosmetic coverings on prosthetics leaves a wide margin for error. The human eye struggles to differentiate colors accurately and results are often varied depending on individual perception. Spectrophotometers offer objective analysis of color in the same way that is done by the human eye. This technology accounts for the effects of metamerism, where colors appear differently based on specified light sources and angles. Advanced spectrophotometers isolate these variables and offer quantifiable data that can be repeated to ensure exact color matches.

This technology also accounts for differences in surface textures and appearances. When creating silicon color matches for prosthetics, color changes can occur based on production stages and product development. Wet silicon materials will appear glossy and brighter in color, whereas cured materials exhibit a matte finish and lighter color. Advanced spectrophotometers are designed to account for these variations, provide the most accurate results in color matching.

The best choice in color technology

There are many various spectrophotometers available on the market today and instrumentation is typically designed with a specific purpose in mind. At HunterLab we offer cutting-edge technology that is tailored to meet the various needs and challenges of color measurement. Our instrumentation is uniquely adaptable to provide a variety of uses and our friendly staff is here to ensure that your instrumentation can be utilized fully for whatever application need you may have. Contact HunterLab today to learn more about our commitment to true color measurement.

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