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June 26 2013,Advancements In Orthotic Technology For The Lower Limb & Orthotic Management of the High Tone Patient
Westcoast Brace & Limb fabricates silicone devices that replace fingers, hands, full arms, toes, feet, legs, and facial anatomy. The active function of each type of
Synthetic Skin Prosthesis is unique. The outer structure of a prosthetic ear helps direct sound into the ear canal. A prosthetic nose helps protect delicate mucus membranes and prevents particles from entering the body. The extension of a prosthetic finger allows for opposition and dexterity—the texture of the silicone improves grasp. Silicone is soft against the skin and vibrations travel gently through it, allowing the user to sense where the prosthesis is in space. This is referred to as proprioception.
Silicone prosthetics can also be used as outer coverings for mechanical devices, such as myoelectric arms. These coverings improve grip and protect the inner mechanical components.
Our silicone is:
- Medical grade & hypoallergenic
- Stain proof
- Flame resistant
- Life-like in texture, which allows for better grip
- Comfortable—it conforms to the user
Silicone prosthetics that serve as passive devices (no moving parts) restore symmetric weight bilaterally and can accomplish more basic tasks. All of Westcoast Brace & Limb’s silicone prosthetics serve another vital role—the realism of the device restores the appearance of the user’s anatomy. The emotional toll of amputation can be devastating. In our experience, an individual is more likely to succeed in prosthetic rehabilitation if aesthetics are addressed in the prosthetic design process. When an individual is able to emotionally accept the prosthesis, he or she is more likely to use the prosthesis and attempt to resume previous activities.
Basic skills, such as reaching for a glass, holding a pencil, and typing on a keyboard, can become daunting after a finger amputation. Silicone prosthetics restore the anatomical function and enable users to resume everyday living activities.
Early prosthetic intervention yields many benefits. Even if the surgery site is not healed, an early prosthetic intervention:
- Allows for our Amputee Case Manager to obtain insurance authorization or alternative funding
- Allows the client to become more familiar with options, the process, and the
- Allows us to design a plan of care
Each client is assigned a Westcoast Brace & Limb Case Manager, who:
- Handles insurance authorization
- Assists in payment arrangements
- Advocates for the client
- Arranges appointments and serves as a key contact for the client
For more information, contact:
Amputee Case Manager
(813) 985-5000 ext 204
Post-surgery, many clients experience a significant amount of swelling in the remaining limb/digit. This is referred to as post-surgical edema. It is important to reduce swelling, to ensure that the prosthesis will fit correctly. We utilize compression therapies, such Coban bandages and custom diagnostic prostheses, which ensure that swelling is reduced prior to beginning the custom definitive prosthesis.
Each client is unique, just like each silicone device we fabricate. We value the partnerships that we possess with our clients. We listen to our clients’ goals and, together, we design prosthetic devices that meet the needs of the users. Our silicone prostheses are fabricated 100% on-site by our Anaplastologist, in conjunction with an ABC Certified Prosthetist. Clients are active participants in the fabrication process. Client satisfaction is our priority.
Each Synthetic Skin Prosthesis is custom sculpted to match the user. The first step in the fabrication of the prosthesis is for our Anaplastologist to obtain a ‘cast’, or ‘impression’ of the client’s unaffected side, as well as the affected residual limb, digit, or facial anatomy.
If both sides (right and left) are affected, details from a compatible ‘donor’ will be utilized. The sculpture includes an extremely high level of detail—from skin pores and wrinkles, to fingerprints. Once the sculpture is completed, the Anaplastologist handcolors the silicone prosthesis.
To ensure the most accurate match and the highest level of realism, we custom paint our prostheses during in-person coloring sessions with the client. During these coloring sessions, clients are encouraged to provide feedback and to be part of the design team. For clients living out-of-state, long-distance coloring based on photographs is available. Typically, in-person coloring sessions result in more accurate matches, higher quality control, and less ‘wait time’ for the client.
Q: What is anaplastology?
A:This is where form meets function. Anaplastology is a branch of medicine dealing with the prosthetic rehabilitation of an absent or
atypical portion of the face or body.
Q: What is a silicone prosthesis?
A: A Synthetic Skin Prosthesis is a highly realistic custom silicone device
that provides the user with passive and active anatomical function.
Q: Which medical professionals are involved in the fabrication of a
A: Westcoast Brace & Limb utilizes a strong and cohesive team, including:
- An Anaplastologist, who designs, fabricates, and fits the prosthesis to the client
- A Certified Prosthetist, who oversees all clinical cases
- An Amputee Case Manager, who manages insurance submissions, alternative funding requests, and scheduling.
Q: How can a consultation be initiated?
A: Contact Jennifer Robinson, Amptuee Case Manager,
at (813) 985-5000 extension 204.
Q: Can the fingers move on a silicone prosthesis?
A: Depending on the client’s anatomy and the type of prosthesis being fabricated, inner armature wire can be incorporated into an upper extremity silicone prosthesis. This allows the client to position fingers and accomplishes active function. Some prosthetics are actually gloves that encompass conventional or externally powered prosthetics. In such a case, as the inner prosthetic hand component moves, the external silicone glove moves with it, realistically.
Q: When is a silicone prosthesis worn?
A: A prosthesis can be worn during daily activities. A prosthesis is removed during showering and it is not worn during sleep. It is important to keep a prosthesis in a safe place, away from pets and children, when it is not in use. A ‘back up’ prosthesis is recommended for more rigorous activities.
Q: How is a silicone prosthesis suspended?
A: Prosthetic suspension refers to how the prosthesis is held onto the affected body part. The prosthetic suspension depends on the type of prosthesis and the client’s anatomy. In the case of a finger, the silicone prosthesis is typically suspended via suction. For clients who present with an extremely short residual digit (the portion of the finger remaining after amputation), adhesives may be used.
Q: Can the color of the prosthesis be adjusted?
A: We can adjust the color of a silicone prosthesis post-delivery, to accommodate a natural tan. The ‘tan’ is applied by us in our office and gradually fades in several weeks.
Q: Can artificial nails be painted using nail polish?
A: Yes. However, it is important to use acetone-free polish remover.
Q: How long does the fabrication process take?
A: Depending on post-surgical swelling and the type of device being fabricated, the timeframe for fabrication typically ranges from two to four weeks.
Q: How long does a silicone prosthesis last?
A: The life of the prosthesis depends on the user’s daily habits and the type of prosthesis fabricated. Typically, replacement should be considered every one to four years. Careful maintenance will prolong the life of the prosthesis. It is also important for the client to contact the Anaplastologist as soon as damage is observed.
Q: Is a silicone prosthesis covered under warranty?
A: Each silicone prosthesis fabricated by Westcoast Brace & Limb is covered under a limited six month warranty. Repairs or non-routine office visits after this period may be subject to an hourly charge.
Q: What medical documentation is needed?
A: A physician prescription is required for any initial prosthesis, and is usually required for all replacement prosthetic devices. Physician medical records provide information regarding a client’s medical history, amputation circumstances, and medical necessity for prosthetic care. We provide physicians with a detailed prescription form, so that adequate information is recorded. Prescriptions may be faxed to Jennifer Robinson, Amputee Case Manager, at (813) 985-4499.
Q: Do insurance companies provide coverage for silicone prosthetics?
A: Navigating the world of insurance coverage can be difficult. However, many commercial and workers’ compensation carriers allow for coverage for custom silicone prosthetic devices. Our Amputee Case Manager works closely with each client to submit for insurance pre-authorization. If the client does not have insurance coverage, our Amputee Case Manager will assist the client in applying for alternative funding. Evaluation is necessary in order to accurately determine the cost of the proposed prosthesis.
Q: How expensive is a silicone prosthesis?
A: The cost of the prosthesis varies, depending on the level of realism and the type of device being fabricated.