New Suspension Methods for Disarticulation Amputees Keep Up with O&P Innovations

ORLANDO, Fla. — Practitioners may only see a few patients with shoulder disarticulation due to a small patient population; hence educational experiences with these patients could be limited.

Jay Martin, CP, LP, FAAOP for Orthocare Innovations, told attendees at the 2010 American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association National Assembly. Here, that practitioners may see only one or two should disarticulation patients a year. This could lead to limited education.

According to Martin, a number of innovations to prosthetic knees, hands, elbows and hands have tremendous designs and offer new and exciting capabilities for the O&P patient. However, the limiting factors of these innovations are the socket and interface designs.

“There are new fitting approaches out there,” Martin said. “We need new and more advanced socket and interface designs to really keep otherwise we may not know what our true potential could be.”

Conventional socket designs for shoulder disarticulation contain a small number of straps around the upper-torso that result in high point pressures in specific areas of the body. New socket designs for shoulder disarticulation disperse those forces around the entire torso. Martin explained that new innovative suspension methods have the capabilities to move with the torso enabling additional flexibility.

“Instead of one strap, we have 10,000 straps that run around the body, dispersing forces 360 degrees around the entire torso,” Martin explained. “The fabric is loose around the neck and a lightweight flexible frame is designed to be flexible, while also having the capability to lift heavy loads.”

New designs also allow for a lightweight stabilizing unit that will not dig into the soft tissue. Martin pointed to one interface that weighed less than 350 g.

“Fitting adjustments are quick and simple,” Martin said. “It is actually faster than the conventional style.”

Similar innovative suspension methods can be applied to the lower extremity as well, Martin said. Like the upper extremity, lower extremity suspension is lightweight, low profile and simple to fabricate.

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