How Her £700 Silicone Arm Transformed Her from a Victim of Bullying to an Inspirational TikTok Educator, Advocating for Inclusivity and Self-Acceptance

Zahra Tabibniya’s Journey to Freedom and Confidence Through Her Silicone Prosthetic Arm

Zahra Tabibniya proudly displays her lifelike prosthetic arm with painted-on veins, freckles, and acrylic nails.
Zahra Tabibniya proudly displays her lifelike prosthetic arm with painted-on veins, freckles, and acrylic nails. Photo: SWNS

In a remarkable journey of resilience and empowerment, Zahra Tabibniya, a 23-year-old pharmacy student originally from Tehran, Iran, now studying at the University of Rome, Italy, has overcome the challenges of being born without her left arm. Zahra’s inspiring story showcases the transformative power of advanced prosthetic technology, as she embraces her prosthetic limb, complete with painted-on veins, freckles, moles, and even acrylic nails.

For Zahra, her prosthetic arm represents not just a cosmetic enhancement but a newfound source of freedom and confidence. During her school years, she often felt the need to conceal her disability. She experimented with various prosthetic options, including a cumbersome 2kg silicone limb. However, her current £700 silicone prosthetic arm has become her favorite, enabling her to perform everyday tasks like tying her laces and styling her hair with ease.

What sets Zahra’s prosthetic apart is its strikingly realistic appearance, with painted-on veins, freckles, moles, and even acrylic nails that can be customized to match her style. Zahra’s dedication to ensuring her prosthetic arm blends seamlessly with her natural appearance extends to adjusting its skin color to match her summer tan.

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, Zahra’s prosthetic arm has given her newfound independence. She can now carry her luggage, use her phone, and handle everyday tasks previously challenging due to her disability. Zahra emphasizes that her prosthetic arm is not merely an accessory but a functional limb, offering around 60 percent of the capabilities of a natural arm.

Zahra’s journey with prosthetics began at just eight months old when her parents acquired her first prosthetic arm. Over the years, she tried various types, including a “mechanical arm with a sling” and a body-powered silicone arm. However, it wasn’t until she met Dr. Khaghani at the Behboodteb Clinic in Tehran, Iran, at the age of 21 that she discovered the silicone prosthetic that has now become an integral part of her life. This type of silicone prosthetic, introduced by Dr. Khaghani, requires replacement every two years and offers both functionality and aesthetics.

Zahra candidly shares that her motivation for using a prosthetic has evolved. Initially, it served as a means to conceal her disability and protect herself from bullies at school. The bullying she endured led to feelings of depression and alienation due to her birth defect. However, as she matured, Zahra’s perspective shifted, and she no longer uses her prosthetic to hide her disability. Instead, it’s become an essential tool for her daily life.

Doctors at the Behboodteb Clinic take meticulous care to ensure Zahra’s prosthetic arm looks as natural as possible, right down to the smallest details like painted-on veins, freckles, and moles. The acrylic nails on the prosthetic hands can be painted, and some wearers even choose to get tattoos on them for added personalization.

Zahra’s story is not just about embracing her prosthetic but also about educating people about her disability. She actively documents the customization and making of her prosthetic arm on TikTok, a platform where she can share her journey and inspire others.

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Zahra Tabibniya’s journey with her lifelike prosthetic arm is a testament to human resilience and the transformative potential of advanced prosthetic technology. Her story serves as a source of inspiration and empowerment for individuals facing similar challenges, reminding us all that our differences are what make us unique and remarkable.

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