Updated on September 5, 2019


Created on June 17, 2014

Polypropylene Prosthesis

Upcoming Update

Prosthetics for the lower and the upper limbs manufactured via ICRC’s polypropylene technology.

Developed By Unknown
Content Partners


Product Description

Prosthetics for the lower and the upper limbs manufactured via ICRC’s polypropylene technology. The product was selected for inclusion in WHO’s 2013 Compendium of Innovative Health Technologies for Low-Resource Settings.

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

ICRC develops polypropylene technology and trains local professionals in the use of technology to establish local limb-fitting centers. The establishment of these local centers allows ICRC to transfer responsibility to a local government or partner NGOs. In certain circumstances, ICRC may substitute entirely for the authorities, but 90% of ICRC projects are managed in close cooperation with local partners, primarily government authorities.

Manufacturing/Building Method

Individually crafted by a prosthetic technician on location using ICRC manufacturing guidelines

Intellectural Property Type

Open Source

User Provision Model

Worldwide at ICRC sponsored limb-fitting centers. In 2011 ICRC-assisted centers produced 19,740 prostheses and fitted the following amount of new patients with prostheses: Africa (2,435), Asia (4,265), Europe and the Americas (393), Near and Middle East (1,527)

Distributions to Date Status

437,910 prostheses as of 2014.

Craftsmanship required


Patient satisfaction


Patient compliance






Water resistant (yes/no)


Amputation level


Weight (kg)


Design Specifications

The core of the prosthetic system is made of polypropylene. The injection process is used for making the components. Other parts of the prosthetic device (sockets, cosmetic covers, etc) are made of polypropylene sheets using thermoforming. For thorough design specifications: ICRC Resource Center, Manufacturing Guidelines. Design history

Technical Support

ICRC-assisted centers are established locally and can provide technical support.

Replacement Components

Ordered from manufacturer's website (CR Equipments Switzerland)


Replace: Adult prosthesis: 3-5 years. The child might expect to be fitted for a prosthesis 15-20 times in a lifetime. Waste material from polypropylene technology is recycled in many countries to make components of walking aids.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

ICRC's Physical Rehabilitation Programme promotes the use of technology appropriate for the context in which it operates (primarily countries effected by war and low-income or developing countries). It lists the following guidelines for any technology it deploys for the physically disabled:

  • Durable, comfortable, easy for patients to use and maintain
  • Easy for technicians to learn, use and repair
  • Standardized but compatible with the climate in different regions of the world
  • Low-cost but modern and consistent with internationally accepted standards
  • Easily available

Vetted Performance Status

A study by ISPO followed 32 trans-tibial amputees using ICRC designed and manufactured polypropylene prostheses. 28 users were satisfied with the ICRC prosthesis and 23 found it to be their preferred artificial limb when compared to others. In the same study, minor failures of the prostheses were encountered, such as small cracks in the hard socket (4 instances) and cracks in the cosmetic seam (3 instances). ISPO concluded at the end of the study that ICRC's polypropylene technology can be recommended for trans-tibial prostheses. A second study by ISPO comparing ICRC polypropylene design with a conventional wood-resign design found both systems to provide acceptable technical and clinical results.


Ill-fitting prosthetic can result in physical discomfort and pain to the patient

Complementary Technical Systems


Academic Research and References

Jensen, J. S., Heim, S. Evaluation of polypropylene prostheses designed by the International Committee of the Red Cross for trans-tibial amputees. Prosthetics and Orthotics International. 2000 Apr; 2(1):47-54.

Jensen, J. S., Raabb, W. Clinical field testing of trans-femoral prosthetic technologies: resin-wood and ICRC polypropylene]. Prosthetics and Orthotics International. 2004; 28(2):141-151.

Compliance with regulations

Unknown, but the following standards exist for orthotics and prosthetics:

Other Information


Leave a Reply

Explore similar solutions


November 29, 2023


Read Solution

Implemented by



October 12, 2020

Adjustable prosthetic limb

Read Solution


September 12, 2021

e-NABLE 3D printing prosthetic devices

Read Solution
All Solutions

Contribute to E4C's Library of Breakthrough Sustainable Development Technology Solutions

Suggest A Solution

Get more information about Solutions Library and its features.

Learn More

Have thoughts on how we can improve?

Give Us Feedback

Join a global community of changemakers.

Become A Member