Reinventing life: a qualitative study on the cultural meanings attributed by amputees to body reconstruction through implantation of prosthetics

Luciana Laureano Paiva Silvana Vilodre Goellner About the authors

The cultural meanings that amputees attribute to their bodies and their daily lives following the use of prosthetics were analyzed. Cultural and sociohistorical studies on the human body were used as theoretical presuppositions. Nine patients (six men and three women) aged 18 to 82 years participated in the study, along with a prosthetician and a physical therapist. The interviews were analyzed using the content analysis technique, and four thematic categories were identified: "Becoming different: the amputated body"; "Getting accustomed to a different body"; "Imperfection as seen by others"; "The prosthetized body: another version of oneself". Analysis according to categories revealed that prostheses were seen as a way of recovering body aesthetics as well as lost functions, such that the patients came to see their bodies as whole again. Using a prosthesis signified a way to remain human, even if sustained by an artificial object.

Amputees; Artificial limbs; Bodily reconstruction

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