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Northwestern University Flexible Subischial Vacuum Socket for persons with transfemoral amputation-Part 1: Description of technique

Stefania Fatone, Ryan Caldwell
Prosthetics and Orthotics International 2017, 41 (3): 237-245
28094686

BACKGROUND: Current transfemoral prosthetic sockets restrict function, lack comfort, and cause residual limb problems. Lower proximal trim lines are an appealing way to address this problem. Development of a more comfortable and possibly functional subischial socket may contribute to improving quality of life of persons with transfemoral amputation.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to (1) describe the design and fabrication of a new subischial socket and (2) describe efforts to teach this technique.

STUDY DESIGN: Development project.

METHODS: Socket development involved defining the following: subject and liner selection, residual limb evaluation, casting, positive mold rectification, check socket fitting, definitive socket fabrication, and troubleshooting of socket fit. Three hands-on workshops to teach the socket were piloted and attended by 30 certified prosthetists and their patient models.

RESULTS: Patient models responded positively to the comfort, range of motion, and stability of the new socket while prosthetists described the technique as "straight forward, reproducible."

CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to create a teachable subischial socket, and while it appears promising, more definitive evaluation is needed. Clinical relevance We developed the Northwestern University Flexible Subischial Vacuum (NU-FlexSIV) Socket as a more comfortable alternative to current transfemoral sockets and demonstrated that it could be taught successfully to prosthetists.

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