In real life, learning to use a prosthetic limb takes several months of rehabilitation, especially if it connects to the patient's nervous system. Not so in many works of fiction, attaching a new limb is as quick and easy as plugging in a flash drive.
- In Pony Pals Dirk Strider Edition, Anna replaces her arm by grafting on a sloth's arm, which takes about a minute and works instantly, with no recovery time.
- In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld/The Big Bang Theory crossover The Many Worlds Interpretation, Sheldon Cooper muses excitedly about how his life would be very much enhanced by transferring his formidable intellect into a cyborg body, having seen how Discworld supercomputer HEX chooses to present himself as a cyborg. Penny and Amy, aided by Howard, then puncture his balloon by graphically speculating on what sort of prosthetic extentions Amy might choose to add to the design for her own convenience. Penny points out that as a bioneurologist, Amy should have no difficulties whatsoever in programming the Shelbot to appreciate and want to use these prosthetics joyously and repeatedly.
- Star Wars:
- In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke unexpectedly loses a hand and quickly gets it replaced with a robotic prosthetic that has all the functionality of the original limb.
- In Revenge of the Sith, Darth Vader gets two legs and an arm cut off, then gets robot replacements just before he's put into his iconic suit. He's able to break his restraints and walk on his new feet mere minutes later.
- In Avengers: Infinity War, Rocket hands Thor a prosthetic eye and he simply pops it into his empty socket. After a minute of moving it around he can see out of it.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort conjures up a fully functional silver hand for Peter Pettigrew to replace the one he cut off minutes prior. Justified since A Wizard Did It.
- Justified in the Gentleman Bastard series: the prosthetics in question are made of Dreamsteel, a magical substance that naturally reshapes itself according to the user's thoughts. And because the recipient is Falconer, a powerful mage in his own right who creates his own prosthetic hands to get Revenge on the protagonists.
- Exaggerated in Void Domain, where Demon body parts have No Biochemical Barriers to being used as prostheses, function perfectly upon being attached, and slowly resize to fit the recipient. The demon Arachne bites off a few of her own limbs to donate to Eva, and later, Devon replaces a lost arm with a Carnivean tentacle without any complications.
- Downplayed in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "It's Only a Paper Moon". Nog returns to the station with a prosthetic leg replacing the one he lost at AR-558, and is limping and using a cane. It's strongly implied this is psychosomatic: after retreating into Vic Fontaine's holoprogram for a while as self-therapy for PTSD incurred in the battle, he stops limping.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In the season 2 finale "S.O.S., Part 2", Mack is forced to cut off Coulson's hand to prevent a Terrigen crystal from petrifying him. In the seasons that follow, Coulson now has a prosthetic hand which he can use with the same ease as his original hand, and contains some useful gadgets to boot (including a forcefield-shield).
- In the second season of Luke Cage, Misty Knight spends the first few episodes coping with the loss of her right arm (which was chopped off by Bakuto in the last episode of The Defenders (2017)). She finally accepts an offer from Danny Rand for a high-tech prosthetic replacement, and becomes proficient enough to use it naturally one episode later.
- In Shadowrun, runners can generally use their new cyberware as soon as they've healed from the surgery.
- Zig-zagged in Dungeons & Dragons with Construct grafts: either they work perfectly or they tear apart the recipient's mind and turn them into a murderous half-Construct.
- Warhammer 40,000: While bionics are widespread throughout the Imperium, how quickly they function depends on the writer bothering to include it at all. Unless specified it seems assumed it happens offscreen and faster thanks to advanced technology.
- The Adeptus Mechanicus strive to eventually replace their entire body with machinery and seem to adapt very quickly given the religious nature of their approach, especially considering that the replacement is not necessarily the same as the original limb, such as replacing legs with treads, jetpacks and even monowheels. In the Dark Heresy RPG one of their first implants is the one which integrates the others into their nervous system, after which it pretty much literally is plug-and-play.
- Ciaphas Cain is a notable aversion, since the recovery time for his augmetic fingers to return to their former state (his real fingers having been lost during an emergency Warp transit) is well-documented, happening over the weeks he's onboard a starship with little else to do (and that's with a Space Marine Apothecary and Techmarine regularly checking on their handiwork), and once he's certain they work without crushing or missing by inches he gets back to his laspistol training to get used to them.
- Deff Skwadron has Killboy, an ork pilot who requires extensive bionik replacements every single time he finishes a mission. These replacements happen offscreen, but given the absurd physical resistance of orks (they can briefly survive decapitation) and how brief R&R is among orks, it's safe to say it goes much faster than for humans.
- In RWBY, after The Fall of Beacon, Yang gets a new arm mailed to her. It seems to link straight to the metal cap on the end of her stump, though that might have interfaces built in. She is able to have basic functions immediately, and is combat capable with it in only a few weeks.
- In the Justice League cartoon Aquaman is able to get a prosthetic hook attached within hours of losing his hand, with very little surgery involved. Granted, the cable launching function probably wasn't added until later, but Aquaman still used it as a weapon later that day.
- In Adventure Time, Finn's previous incarnation Shoko ends up losing her right arm. She developed a friendship with Princess Bubblegum, who gives her a gift of a prosthetic arm. Shoko looked confused as to how to use it, but PB tells her to just put it on.
Princess Bubblegum: It's a dang plug-n-play, girl!
Aversions and Subversions
- In Fullmetal Alchemist attaching automail to nerve endings is extremely painful and the rehab usually takes half a year. After that though, it can be taken off and put back on without the rehab period, just the pain.
- In one chapter of the Ghost in the Shell manga Motoko needs to hack and teleoperate a police woman who's been having trouble with her new prosthetic arm's software. When Motoko first tries shooting with that arm it freezes and she finds several programs conflicting with each other that she needs to clear out.
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- During an investigation, Motoko looks for a prosthetic user that she can temporarily hack into, and finds a police woman (a reference to the above). The woman is complaining to her coworker that you shouldn't override the control software in your body just because you got a new body part. She was having difficulty adjusting to a new arm because it came with software that her cyberbrain was having trouble adjusting to.
- Batou ends up losing a fight against Kuze in the 2nd season. Kuze takes a metal pole and jams it into Batou's shoulder, pinning him to the ground, and ultimately allowing him to escape. A later scene shows Batou fidgeting with his left arm. He comments that even though it started working as soon as he had it replaced, it takes a few days to get used to it.
- The 1952 Science Fiction novel "Limbo" by Bernard Wolfe is about a post-WWIII world where people willingly amputate their limbs for nuclear-powered prosthetics. Training how to use the limbs takes a while — in fact we're introduced to the 'amps' in the form of an Olympic team training how to use their limbs to their fullest extent. However the limbs in the form of various tools can be easily swapped; in fact the ability to do so is part of their philosophy to avoid another war — a case of literal disarmament. Turns out the opposite is true, as the East and Western blocs have been secretly developing weapon-limbs.
- In Red Dwarf Lister has great difficulty using a cybernetic arm after it's attached. At the initial sensitivity setting he can't even make it lift a ball, when Kryten turns up the setting his subconscious takes over and it just punches Kryten in the face for amputating his arm in the first place.
- Averted in season 5 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., when Yo-Yo is fitted with a pair of prosthetic arms. Her teammates note that the arms will take some time to properly calibrate, ad then later they have to be repaired when Yo-Yo damages them because they weren't designed to withstand her high-speed powers.
- In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Adam Jenson's cyborg body has multiple upgrades pre-built into it, but all but the most basic functons have been disabled for fear of overwhelming his brain, and he unlocks new functions by becoming accustomed to his body (justifying the game's Experience Points mechanic). It's also shown that he underwent therapy after his cyborg conversion, and taught himself clock-making to learn precision control of his prosthetic hands.
- Final Space: In episode 2, the Lord Commander rips off one of Gary's arms. By the end of the episode, he is given a robotic arm as replacement and seems to have full control over it immediately after the surgery. At the start of episode 3 however, it becomes clear he still has some practicing to do, since the arm goes out of control while Gary is recording his daily video message for Quinn, and ends up stripping him naked.