Prosthetic advances for above knee or Transfemoral amputees are continuing at an exciting pace. Innovative designs in socket configuration, and ever evolving technology make this area of prosthetics exciting. Microprocessor knee systems are becoming the standard of care. We now have externally powered knee systems as well. Foot and ankle technology is also ever changing and benefitting the amputee population.
The continued advancement in Microprocessor knee systems are allowing amputee's greater freedom and mobility then ever before. The C-LEG and the Rheo are examples of this technology. Now the ability to walk safely down stairs and ramps and have the prosthesis assist this has become a reality. Amputees who have converted to this style of knee joint are benefitting from greater mobility than ever before. Coming in summer or fall of 2011 is the Genium Knee by Otto Bock. This knee promises to represent a major step forward in technology for the Microprocessor controlled knee joint. Its features will include different stance flexion resistances for stairs and ramps. It will also recognize when a user is going up stairs and will have a mode to assist the amputee in leg over leg stair climbing.
Below the knee or Transtibial amputations are an area where great advancements in technology have taken place as well. We now have greater options in suspension, shock absorption, rotation and energy return than ever before.
Another area of excitement is the appearance of Micro-Processor technology for the Transtibial amputee. The PROPRIO foot and ankle is an example of this. This foot will automatically adjust itself to the terrain the amputee is walking on. If you are going up or down a ramp PROPRIO will sense this and change the position of the foot to match this change. With the push of a button it will automatically adjust itself to a shoe's heel height. Furthermore during gait the foot senses when the toe pushes off and will lift the toe to prevent it from catching on the ground, just like your missing muscles used to do.
Any amputation is traumatic to the person losing the body part but one of the most disabling lower extremity amputations is the hip disarticulation or the hemipelvectomy amputation. The most common reasons for either of these amputations are cancer, trauma and aggressive infections. The hip disarticulation involves the removal of the entire lower limb, however the pelvis remains uninvolved. In the Hemipelvectomy amputation, the entire limb is removed in addition to a portion of the pelvis, including the hip socket. Because three joints are removed, the ankle, the knee and the hip, this is the most challenging of prosthetic replacements.
In the past, this prosthesis has had a high rate of rejection due to the increased energy expenditure, limitations in function and the generally increased demand for the amputee physically. Because the number of patients being fit with these type prostheses is low, few prosthetists have developed sufficient expertise in the design and fitting of these prostheses. At SCOPe Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc. we have a team of clinical and technical specialists that work hard to ensure that this level of patient has the greatest level of success.
In recent years there have been multiple technological advancements that have benefited this patient population. Foremost has been microprocessor knee systems which assist the hip disarticulation patient by using sensors to understand what the patient is doing and controlling the knee. Resulting in a prosthesis that is safer and easier to use. Most recently, advancements have been made in prosthetic hip designs such as the Helix hip system from Otto Bock. This system uses hydraulics to assist in forward motion and to provide shock absorption.
Of crucial importance is the prosthetic socket. If the socket doesn’t fit correctly all the latest high tech components will not be able to function at the maximum level. The SCOPe Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc. team has developed and incorporated many advancements in materials and design allowing for the most comfortable fit ever. Resulting in greater acceptance and more functional outcome for patients desiring to return some level of normalcy to their lives after traveling through this challenging journey.
An area of advancement which has proven to be very important for Transtibial and Transfemoral amputees is suspension of the prosthesis. This refers to how the prosthesis is held onto the amputee's body. We are using variations of suction and vacuum assisted suspension which are truly exciting for the correct candidate. Elevated vacuum systems such as the Harmony or Limb Logic are providing the prosthetic user the most secure levels of suspension ever. Not only do they hold the prosthesis on firmly, they also help minimize daily volume fluctuations which can be very problematic. You should ask if this technique is appropriate for you.
Feet and Ankles
Another area that has equal impact on both Transfemoral and Transtibial prosthetics is new advancements in foot and ankle technology is ever changing. We have feet and ankles which have built in shock absorbers as well as rotation capabilities. We have ankles which allow the user to go from a flat shoe to a 2 inch heel. Current feet and ankles are made from carbon fiber and titanium to maximize strength and durability and keep the weight down. We work with a wide variety of people who have individual needs and we match the optimal foot and ankle with the right person. Our evaluation process will help us, while working with you, to arrive at your best solution.
Clearly there are many options and things to consider when designing a Lower Extremity prosthesis for an individual. Our staff will provide a thorough evaluation of your individual needs and working with you and your Physician, develop a treatment plan to maximize your outcome. Our job doesn't stop when you receive your prosthesis, you will be given careful instructions on the use and care of your device. Furthermore you will be scheduled for routine follow up care to make sure you reach and maintain your maximum level of function.
However, all the advancements in technology don't mean a thing unless the socket that your limb fits into is comfortable and well designed. At SCOPe Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc. our skilled certified prosthetists have the expertise and technological know how to enable our clients to succeed. Our staff is constantly obtaining ongoing training and continuing education to insure, our knowledge base is thorough and complete. In this way SCOPe continues our commitment to the communities we support to insure we provide excellence in prosthetic care.