Sometimes, what life takes away,
science can give back.
Today's advanced prosthetic technologies are truly amazing. They are making possible levels of sensitivity and mobility never imagined a few years ago. Even more important, they're enabling amputees to live more active, more engaged, more fulfilling lives.
As with all technologies, the more they're adapted, the more they become the norm. So today, advanced prosthetic technologies are no longer just for those who aspire to mountain climb or ski. With the higher level of customization and personalization they enable, they're for everyone.
This means there really is no longer any such thing as a "basic leg." No matter what your level of activity, we are able to employ a range of technologies from a variety of pioneering partners, including Ossur, WillowWood, OPIE, BTS, Ottobock and Extremiti3D, to build the customized prostheses that can help you achieve your work, play and lifestyle goals. Here are some of the technologies available to us:
There's very little reason to consider an off-the-shelf prosthesis anymore. With advances in scanning and 3D printing, sockets can be highly customized and made to fit the contours of a single individual's limb. And not just prosthetic sockets, either – it's now possible to 3D print custom distal socket cushions in silicone, as well as all types of 3D printed bracing, including spinal bracing, wrist-hand-finger bracing, knee and ankle bracing, hip bracing, and cranial helmets for infants with plagiocephaly. It takes less time than traditional manufacturing, generally results in a lighter, less cumbersome and more comfortable prosthesis, and it is more cost efficient as well.
Gone are the days of heavy, bulky prosthetics and braces. A new generation of advanced materials such as carbon graphite and graphene are sparking a revolution in prosthetics. These materials are lighter, stronger and more flexible. They're able to store & release energy and use bio-physical shape properties to improve function and decrease the side effects of size, bulk, weight, heat retention and soft tissue disruption. We've seen the benefits of these materials in a number of ways, including the use of pre-pregs and modular layups for rigid/flexible designs that result in pre-manufactured bracing without the need for conventional thermoplastics.
The age of truly bionic limbs is here. Osseointegration is the process by which a surgical implant, such as a dental implant or artificial joint, fuses to the surrounding bone tissue. It's a lengthy process, occurring over a period of several weeks or months, and is facilitated by the presence of a porous surface on the implant that allows for the ingrowth of new bone tissue. This process provides a strong and stable foundation for the implant, allowing it to function just like a natural body part. And as the vibrations from movement are transferred from the implant through the bone to the ear (osseoperception), it can even help patients identify the surface they're walking on, which not only improves safety, but also one's sense of connectedness to the world around them.
Computer aided design (CAD) has been a key part of prosthesis development for many years, and with the rise of 3D printing, CAM – computer aided manufacturing – is taking on new prominence. As a wider range of materials are able to be 3D printed, including titanium, silicone gels, carbon and multiple flexible durometer plastics, we expect this practice to grow.
CAC (Computer Aided Care)
For patients, the best possible care would be coordinated in near-real time through a collaborative effort of involved providers that makes the delivery of care more efficient, more effective and less burdensome to the patient. Technology can help bring about this kind of care, from our own Telehealth visits to the PACS system of radiology, which allows providers access to patient radiographs, removing a common headache and delay point for patients. As the promise of technology continues to unfold, we are seeing real collaborations on common post-acute or rehab diagnoses among PT groups, Home Health Care groups, case managers, payor and provider systems to name a few.
Powered Assistive Technology
Technology that enhances the physical capabilities of the human body has been around since the atlatl, and today, it's improving lives like never before, from power knees in transfemoral prostheses that actually power your body upstairs or up from a chair to exoskeletons being used to restore support and mobility to those with spinal cord injuries or debilitating neurologic deficits.
Microprocessor/computerized user interfaces
At the intersection of powered assistive technology, CAD/CAM and advanced materials sits this exciting new category. While it has been adopted in lower extremity prosthetic knee and ankle units, some of the most pioneering work is being done with upper extremity prosthetic myoelectrics, which harness the normal human nerve impulse potential and magnify it into force to motor a prosthetic hand, elbow, shoulder unit. And perhaps most promising of all – if not yet quite ready for prime time – are investigational brain impulse controlling prosthetic interfaces, or “thought-controlled” prosthetic interfacing.
To learn more about these advances and how they can work for you, call us toll free at 1 877 538 8825 or email our office.