Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Simpler, cheaper way to make and fit prosthetics developed

27.10.2003


Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed an easier and less expensive way to make sockets for prosthetic limbs.



The study’s principal investigator, Jack R. Engsberg, Ph.D., will receive the Howard R. Thranhardt Lecture Honorarium for this work and present preliminary findings at the National Assembly of the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, in Reno, Nev.

"What we’re doing is an entirely different process from the traditional way of making prosthetic sockets," says Engsberg, who is a research associate professor of neurological surgery.


The new process may expedite and simplify the procedure for the estimated 400,000 Americans with an amputated limb. According to Engsberg, it also could be particularly useful in other countries, where landmines are responsible for millions of amputations, most of which occur in areas that do not have the financial or medical resources to fit prosthetics.

"We think that eventually our new technique could be taught throughout the world and would be cheaper and easier to implement," he says.

The most important and difficult part of making a prosthetic limb is the socket, the part of the prosthetic that fits against the stump of the remaining part of the limb. Traditionally, this requires the expertise of a specially trained prosthetist. A plaster cast of the stump is made and then filled with plaster to create a model. The model is then used to make a socket, which is adjusted to optimize its ability to contour to the individual’s stump and to comfortably bear the weight of that individual. Sockets typically require several fittings and adjustments, including production of several test sockets before a final product is achieved.

Several approaches to improving this procedure are under investigation, but most are more complicated and expensive than the traditional approach. Engsberg and his team developed a simpler, less expensive alternative using a gel instead of plaster to make the stump mold. In this process, the stump is placed in a pail with water and alginate powder, and the powder turns into a jello-like substance in about five minutes. The gel contours to the shape of the stump and produces an exact mold. Plaster is still used to fill the mold and create a model of the stump.

To test this alternative, the team made two sockets for each of the 10 leg amputees. One socket was made with the traditional plaster mold method; the other was made with the alginate gel. The two processes also differed in a second important way: The traditional method required production of up to three test sockets, whereas the gel sockets did not undergo any adjustments or additional fittings.

Using several measurements of walking performance and quality of life, the team found no differences in the success of the two types of sockets. And, when asked to choose which socket they wanted to keep, five chose the one made with the gel process, four chose the traditional socket and one person chose to keep both.

"Our data suggest that the gel process produces sockets that fit at least as well as those made in the traditional way," Engsberg says. "In this preliminary study, we’ve shown that it’s possible to make a socket without any modifications, using a process that’s easy enough to be performed by a technician instead of a specialized prosthetist."


Engsberg JR, Sprouse SW, Uhrich ML, Ziegler BR, Luitjohan FD. Preliminary investigation comparing rectified and unrectified sockets for transtibial amputees. American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association National Assembly, Oct. 25, 2003.

Funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institutes of Health supported this research.

The full-time and volunteer faculty of Washington University School of Medicine are the physicians and surgeons of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Gila Z. Reckess | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://medinfo.wustl.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inselspital: Fewer CT scans needed after cerebral bleeding
20.03.2019 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Building blocks for new medications: the University of Graz is seeking a technology partner
19.03.2019 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>