Prosthetic Solutions & Care
We understand that the loss of a limb through a traumatic accident or illness has a significant impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing. We can’t replace what you have lost, but we can provide you with a prosthetic that gives you the ability and confidence to do the things you want to do.
Our experienced Prosthetists have the capability to design, manufacture and fit a wide variety of prostheses for the upper and lower body. This gives you the option to choose the type of prosthetic that’s right for you with practical guidance, advice and support from a professional who truly cares about helping you find a solution that works – for you, your body and your lifestyle.
Our custom-made prostheses are designed for real-life, carefully crafted for ultimate fit, comfort and function using the highest quality materials and latest techniques.
If you are looking for proof of the power of a prosthesis that’s purpose-built for you, you don’t have to look much further than Frank. Since the amputation of his right leg below the knee in late 2014, Frank has shown an incredible level of determination and grit to not only get “back on his feet” but to push his body to whole new limits as a Powerlifter and regular competitor in Strongman competitions. Frank has been working with Anton and Peter over the last three years to develop and continually refine his prostheses to enable him to pursue his passion for weightlifting.
Functional prostheses for all levels of upper limb amputation
The primary objective for upper extremity prosthetics is to the meet vocational, recreational and general lifestyle needs of a patient, and achieve an aesthetically pleasing outcome. This demands a highly individualised approach to making upper limb prosthetics.
The advancements and improvements in upper extremity prosthetics in the last two decades have been significant. Application of computer-aided technology has greatly improved appearance, function and performance.
We specialise in:
Body Powered Prostheses (Conventional)
The most common type of upper limb prostheses, Body Powered Prostheses allow an individual to control the terminal device (usually a hook or a hand) via a harness system that fits around the chest and shoulder. This type of prosthesis is very reliable and can be used in environments involving dust and water.
Externally Powered Prostheses (Myo-electric)
Externally Powered Prostheses use a battery-powered electric motor to control the terminal device, eliminating the need for a harness system. Sensors, embedded in the socket, pick up an EMG signal on the skin and transfer it to a processor which controls the functions of the motor. Intensive training is essential to ensure a successful outcome. New developments like pattern-recognising software will improve the functionality of these systems greatly.
Hybrid systems are a combination of externally powered and body-powered prostheses. This type of prosthesis can be used for Transhumeral (above-elbow) amputees, providing functional restoration of elbow and hand. Usually, the elbow joint is controlled via a harness system and the terminal device is controlled through an externally power source, e.g. myo-electrically.
This type of prosthesis is purely cosmetic and limited in function. We do not specialise in custom silicone products and therefore apply a standard cosmetic glove to match individual skin colour. This is an excellent choice for people who want a lightweight solution to look complete. Typically, the prosthetic hand will have wiring to allow the fingers to be bent in a functional manner to type on a computer keypad or mobile phone.
Sport & Recreation
These prostheses are usually very task specific and a patient may have a couple of interchangeable terminal devices to enable them to accomplish different tasks. We specify TRS terminal devices that are specially designed for sport and recreation.
Custom-made artificial limbs
Significant advancements have been made in terms of prosthetic components and socket designs for the lower limbs. In particular, lighter and more durable materials have resulted in vast improvements to comfort, function and performance.
The rule of thumb is that the lower the level of amputation, the less expensive the prosthetic and the more capable a patient will be with the aid of a prosthesis. The higher the level of amputation, the higher the number of components required and complexity of system required to achieve a balance between stability and function.
Key components of lower extremity prostheses:
Socket and Interface
The purpose of the prosthetic socket is to transmit forces from the residual limb to the prosthesis. A well-constructed socket will provide comfort and stability during walking and standing on a prosthesis. The introduction of plastics, fibreglass and carbon-fibre revolutionised socket manufacturing and design, making them lighter and much more durable.
The interface/liner is intended to absorb shock and shear forces on the residual limb. It fits between the residual limb and the socket and can be made from various soft materials. Modern interfaces are constructed from silicon and urethane polymers, which help protect the tissue. They can also assist with suspension of the prosthesis by incorporating a pin that connects to a locking mechanism in the socket or create a vacuum that can only be released through an expulsion valve fitted to the socket.
Combining these new technologies with new socket designs, such as Total Surface Bearing (TSB), adjustable volume systems (RevoFit) or Ischial Containment (IC), have also improved prosthetic comfort and function dramatically.
Knee mechanisms for Trans-Femoral (above the knee) amputees have seen major technological advancement in the last decade, greatly improving safety and function. Microprocessor-controlled knee units have led these advances.
Incorporation of hydraulic and pneumatic mechanisms allows modern knee units to adapt to variable cadence and assists walking on slopes and stairs. New design concepts for multi-axial knee units have seen increased stability reducing the higher expenditure associated with instability.
Foot & Ankle
The human foot and ankle is a very complex functional unit. It provides stability as well as flexibility, absorbs forces and generates energy for efficient and comfortable walking. As each patient has different needs and lifestyles, it is vital to select the most appropriate prosthetic foot to achieve maximum comfort and function. Major improvements in design and manufacturing of prosthetic feet have resulted in much more energy efficient and natural walking.
Prosthetic feet can be classified in three groups:
- Energy storing feet store and release the energy that is generated throughout the gait cycle, allowing amputees to walk longer and further. Most users of these feet comment on the “spring” these feet provide.
- Energy dissipating feet allow for forces generated during walking to be absorbed and redirected, allowing very little energy to be transferred to the residual limb. Combining different materials also allows those feet to conform to walking surfaces, providing the amputee with more stability and comfort.
- Hybrid feet are a new generation of prosthetic feet that combine the properties of energy storing feet and energy dissipating feet.
Some extremely useful accessories are now available, including energy storing and absorbing pylons. These units act like a shock absorber in a car’s suspension. They absorb vertical (up and down) forces and rotational forces. When combined with the appropriate components, these shock absorbers significantly increase walking comfort.
3D printed external fairings that wrap around the lower leg section of a prosthesis create a striking visual effect and can be customised to reflect an amputees personality. This, combined with decorative socket finishing, can provide a truly unique prosthesis.
Recreational & Sports
Specially designed prostheses can be used for recreational activities or athletics. Prostheses used in athletics, especially sprinting, need to withstand enormous forces and are not suitable for normal locomotion due to their unique design.
Amputees that require solutions for specific activities like mountain biking, swimming or hiking have numerous options to choose from.
Osseointegration (OI) is the structural connection between living bone and a load-carrying metal implant. First introduced into dentistry in the 1960s, OI has been an option for some lower and upper limb amputees since the 1990s in Europe. The prosthetic components are attached directly to the implant via a connector, eliminating the use of a traditional socket.
There are various advantages and disadvantages to take into account when considering this option, which your Prosthetist can talk you through.
Taking proper care of your prosthesis helps to ensure it functions well and optimises its longevity.
A prosthetic liner should be washed on a daily basis. Use a damp cloth with a mild detergent to wipe it out and then dry it with a towel and leave it overnight to dry completely. DO NOT leave your liner for extended periods turned inside out or put your liner in a washing machine or clothes dryer, as it may damage or even destroy it.
Trans-Tibial users (below the knee): Your socket should be cleaned weekly. Simply wipe it with a damp cloth and a mild detergent and dry it thoroughly before you put it back on. Shuttle locks and expulsion valves need to be serviced when not functioning optimally. Speak to your prosthetist about service intervals.
Trans-Femoral Users (above the Knee): Your socket should be cleaned daily. Wipe your socket with a damp cloth and a mild detergent, making sure you dry it thoroughly before putting it back on. Isopropyl wipes can be used to clean and disinfect all sockets. It is not necessary to use an antiseptic to clean your prosthesis. DO NOT use Dettol or other solvents to clean your socket or liner.
Most prosthetic components just need to be wiped clean using a damp cloth. If the prosthetic foot gets sand in it, make an appointment for it to be cleaned and serviced by your prosthetist. In many cases, your prosthetist can give you a tool and train you to do it yourself.
CLEANING THE STUMP SOCKS
The two main reasons for wearing stump socks are: (1) to protect the residual limb from excessive rubbing against the socket; and (2) to allow the prosthesis to fit better as your residual limb changes in volume. You may find that you wear only one sock in the morning but have to add a second one as the day progresses. It is very important to keep your stump socks in a clean and hygienic state. They should be changed and cleaned daily.
DO’s and DON’Ts for cleaning prosthetic stump socks:
- Only use an approved wool detergent to wash your prosthetic stump socks, preferably by hand.
- Using hot water might cause your prosthetic stump socks to shrink.
- Squeeze suds gently through the prosthetic stump socks and rinse with clear warm water.
- Avoid twisting and rubbing wet socks as this may cause the socks to lose their shape.
- DO NOT wring the prosthetic stump socks out. Roll them in a towel to blot out the extra water.
- Stump socks can be hung to dry.
- DO NOT use a clothes dryer to dry prosthetic stump socks.