Innovations in prosthetic technology almost always require new physical skills and education to achieve optimal outcomes or results. Our goal is to ensure that when more technologically advanced componentry is used to treat a patient, that the patient is prepared so that they can receive the ultimate benefit.
Elements of the Prosthesis
The structural interface is the part of the prosthesis that the body connects to in order to interact with the environment. It also connects the body to the artificial aspects of the prosthesis. The “socket” is the name that is most often used to describe this part of the prosthesis
Soft Tissue Interface
Prosthetic socks and liners are examples of soft tissue interfaces. Worn next to the skin these types of interfaces provide a barrier between the body and the structural interface to allow for movement and the changing nature of the human body. The ability to add or take away plys of socks allows the patient to maintain a safe functional interface with the socket and allows for maximum comfort and the health of the skin.
A prosthesis, depending on the level of amputation, includes the replacement of joints. Feet, ankles, knees and hips are the joint systems for lower limb prostheses; Hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders are the joint systems for upper limb prostheses.
The parts of the prosthesis that connect the joint systems and the structural interface (socket) are called skeletal components.
Suspension systems are used to hold the prosthesis onto the body. There are many different types of suspension including suspension sleeves or seals, belts, distal pin and locking systems, vacuum systems and suction valves. The type of suspension is determined individually for each patient based on their needs and activity levels.
Prostheses are primarily mechanically controlled by body power. However, there are innovations in myo-electric, microprocessor and bionics that enable some prostheses to have externally power controlled assistance.
Advancements in silicone technology now make it possible to replicate the human limb in its appearance so that the prosthetic limb can be covered with, or in the case of hands and feet be made completely of, silicone.