Over the years, the Prosthetic Industry has made significant advancements in designs, components, materials and processes. The increase in comfort and functionality of prosthetics these days is outstanding…as long as you are over the age of 12 that is. What has lagged behind is the entire field of pediatric prosthetics for young children – who in actuality have significant strength, motivation and fervor. Thankfully, a handful of individuals and companies in the field have recognized the need for development in this area and are making strides to help pediatric prosthetic patients excel.
Take a look at this recent article from OandP.com, a leading resource of up and coming orthotic and prosthetic news. EastPoint’s Raleigh clinician, Brent Wright, even ways in on the subject in the article. You’ll also see a recent picture of our sweet little patient Miyah!
OandP.com Article – Pediatric Prosthetics
As many of you know, this past year EastPoint became the first clinical partner with LIM Innovations, out of San Francisco, California. In September of 2014, LIM released a revolutionary new socket design, a game-changer in the prosthetic world, the Infinite Socket. The Infinite Socket is the first of its kind to offer a completely customized fit so patients can make their own adjustments as often they choose.
After we found success with several adult patients in this new socket, we strongly urged LIM to continue their developing and release a pediatric version. We are thrilled to announce that they not only honored our request, but they also decided to use one of our sweet kiddos, Miyah as the face behind this new pediatric socket. Miyah loves the LIM Infinite Socket, and her Mom loves the ability to customize the fit on their own, at any time.
Offering this kind of personalized fit for pediatric amputees is a huge step forward for the field of prosthetics. We are so proud of Miyah and her success, and we are thankful to continue being a part of her journey.
Check out additional coverage of her story here: NY Times – Miyah
Everyone has a story, especially if you are an amputee, and Ottobock wants to hear it. Click the link below to submit a photo and tell yours. Once you post your story, share it and tell everyone you know to vote. You could win a trip for 2 to Salt Lake City to tour the Ottobock facility and visit The National Ability Center. Additional prizes include free passes to the 2016 Amputee Coalition Conference. The deadline has been extended to October 16th, so start typing and tell Ottobock how YOU are Reclaiming Your Life!
If you submit your story, let us know and we would love to help spread the word for votes.
RECLAIM YOUR LIFE PHOTO CONTEST
As of July 16, 2015, potential alterations to Medicare coverage of lower limb prostheses may prevent appropriate patient care for lower limb amputees. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a new draft for the local coverage determinations (LCD) regarding lower limb prosthetic devices that will make it more difficult for current and future patients to receive coverage for various prosthetic components.
Among the changes to the LCD is the revision of functional level modifiers. According to the new draft, a prosthesis is only considered medically necessary if the device provides a patient with the appearance of a natural gait. This is discriminatory to patients who gain excellent mobility through the use of a device, but cannot attain visibly natural gait due to the nature of their disability. Furthermore, the draft eliminates patient potential from the functional level categories, meaning that patients who are progressing in their functional abilities are prevented from receiving higher functional level componentry. Yet the most worrisome aspect of the policy may be that patients who have utilized Medicare payment for any form of mobility aid (including canes, crutches, walkers, etc.) will be severely limited in their ability to receive higher quality prosthetic components. Instead of permitting patients to improve functional abilities, the policy actually inhibits patients from receiving the care necessary to maximize mobility.
In addition, the new LCD policy implements a number of other coverage limitations and patient requirements that delay or prevent appropriate prosthetic delivery. We encourage you to read a summary of the proposed LCD here: http://www.aopanet.org/2015/07/update-aopas-analysis-of-proposed-lower-limb-prosthetic-policy/ or the entire proposal here: http://www.medicarenhic.com/viewdoc.aspx?id=3109. The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics & Prosthetics (NAAOP) created a petition calling for the policy to be rescinded. In order to receive a response from the White House staff, the petition needed to reach 100,000 signatures by August 31. The petition has already surpassed this requirement, though you may still contribute your signature here: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov//petition/rescind-medicare-proposal-restricting-access-prosthetic-limbs-and-returning-amputees-1970s-standards-care. The expression of your opinions and concerns can help prevent the implementation of this policy and can help patients across the country continue to receive the prosthetics care that they need and deserve. As we wait for a response from the White House, please provide your own thoughts about the policy here: https://aopa.wufoo.com/forms/comment-on-draft-policy-for-lower-limb-prostheses/, as they may be included in the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association’s comments on the issue. All public comments on the proposed policy are due by August, 31, 2015.
Innovation and creativity are paramount to the advancement of prosthetic technology, but this new concept takes creativity to a whole new level. While the practical functionality and durability of this particular device is yet to be confirmed, the idea certainly gets a A+ for unique and fun!
3D printing is one of the fastest growing industries at the moment. It seems that almost every day people are finding new applications for this technology, especially within the medical field. 3D printing boasts the ability to create complex designs quickly and for prices much lower than ever before. With prosthetists and orthotists requiring custom plastic molds every day, this could revolutionize the business. By scanning residual limbs and using a 3D printer to create a socket, prosthetists would be able to offer patients potentially better-fitting devices the same day of the scan, without going through a middleman. While it has its advantages, there are reasons that technology has not already put prosthetics/orthotics manufacturers out of business.
Current 3D-printed prosthetics may spend more time under repair than being used day-to-day. That’s because the materials used for printing are not durable enough for legitimate use. Most jobs are printed using polylactic acid, an extremely light material that makes it possible to attach 3D-printed hands to the body using nothing more than Velcro straps. While lightweight is good, it also means that they are not strong enough to support any significant weight . Even when using more expensive, durable materials than polylactic acid, 3D-printers work by laying down thin layers of hot plastic. So, when a force is applied parallel to the direction that the layers were laid down, the printed object is strong, but when a force is applied perpendicular to the layers, the device is weaker and subject to cracking . While there are certain materials that are strong enough to overcome this issue, they are so expensive that the process is no longer cheaper than the old-fashioned method.
All of this being said, the technology is exciting, and could have a greater impact in the future. Right now, the technology is useful for generating model prostheses that are not meant to stand up to everyday wear and tear. In some cases, 3D-printed products can be useful for kids who quickly outgrow their devices and cannot afford to invest in something more expensive that won’t fit a month later. Some successful applications have also been seen in scoliosis braces offering more appealing aesthetics and increased comfort .
The bottom line though is that we must be realistic about the uses of 3D-printing in the field of prosthetics and orthotics. 3D-printed materials are not at the point that they can replace current devices to be used every day, but hopefully they can in the future, saving patients money, time, and discomfort.
Guest Blogger – A. Allen
Live in or near RDU? Check out this awesome family fun event coming to Cary on April 25th, 2015! A family event challenge that everyone can enjoy. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, it’s all about having a good time together. Check it out!
Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, a quadruple-amputee, has purchased a unique property in Maine, and is excited to build a family retreat for wounded Vets and their families to enjoy. Take a look at the story from Fox News Insider:
An really cool educational and fun event is coming to the East Coast in Washington, DC the beginning of May. It’s a Limb Loss Education Day, offered by the Amputee Coalition. What a great opportunity to learn new tips and tricks while also enjoying some recreation.
See the link below for more information!
Limb Loss Education Day
EastPoint is excited to join in a clinical partnership with LIM Innovations, allowing our patients access to the newly released Infinite Socket™. This socket design encompasses versatility and customized comfort for a fine-tuned fit that is patient specific. The advanced design of the Infinite Socket™ allows patients increased comfort and function that they can adjust on their own.
While LIM Innovations may eventually release additional options, the Infinite Socket™ is designed for transfemoral amputations. The unique characteristics of this socket include a micro-tensioning system, a soft and adjustable brim, a flexible distal inner liner, a telescoping ischial seat, formable thermoplastic carbon-fiber struts and an adjustable base.
The success of this socket has been outstanding! It has truly revolutionized the lives of the patients who tried it. We are looking forward to seeing even more positive outcomes in the future.
For more information or to find out if this socket is right for you, please contact Brent at our Raleigh location.
Some short video accounts of some of our patients’ experiences:
A Patient Gives Feedback on the LIM Innovations Infinite Socket from William Wright on Vimeo.