Rebuilding Lives One Limb at a Time

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Orthopedic Appliance Company (OAC) specializes in restoring mobility and independence to individuals confronting the absence of a limb, either through amputation or congenital difference.

Working in close collaboration with involved physicians, therapists, other specialists, caregivers, and most importantly our patient, the skilled OAC practitioner team follows a detailed, proven process to create the best prosthetic solution possible for both upper- and lower-limb applications.

Referral & Initial Care

The sooner our prosthetic staff can become involved with the rehabilitation team, the greater the likelihood of an optimal outcome. Our board-certified prosthesis’s bring valuable knowledge and experience to amputation and restoration decision-making, including interacting with patient and family to answer questions and relieve anxiety, and taking part in discussions regarding amputation level and rehabilitation potential.

Evaluation and Assessment

A comprehensive initial evaluation and assessment of a new amputee’s ambulation potential are key to a successful outcome. Our prosthetic team evaluates how overall state of health to predict the individual’s ability to use a prosthesis effectively. This step will include a detailed patient history, physical exam, and input from doctors, therapists and other rehab specialists.    

The Prosthesis

Orthopedic Appliance AshevilleAfter a careful preparatory phase, we proceed to creating the definitive prosthesis using more permanent materials and incorporating all knowledge gained to date. Many factors go into formulating the design and fabrication of this permanent system:

  • The condition and weight-bearing ability of the residual limb 
  • The patient's overall state of health, activity level, vocational needs and expectations
  • The most appropriate suspension (method of attaching the prosthesis to the residual limb) 
  • Specific components to be used, including socket, foot, pylon and (if applicable) knee unit for lower-limb applications... and socket, hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder (as applicable) components for upper-limb systems.
  • Cosmetic finishing
  • Cost and funding

There is no “one size fits all” in modern prosthetics. Every limb we fabricate is one of a kind, fully customized for the unique physiology, capabilities and lifestyle aspirations of our patients. To ensure the best fit possible, we employ CAD/CAM technology to precisely map the patient’s residual limb, then create a total-contact socket that will provide the wearer optimal security and comfort with minimal energy expenditure. 

Our company maintains relationships with leading prosthetic manufacturers around the globe, allowing us access to the absolute best components for each patient. Our prosthetists continually hone their skills and pursue training on the latest in high-tech componentry, including microprocessor-controlled knee systems, carbon-composite componentry, and myoelectrically controlled hands. 

Fitting & Alignment

Fit refers to the quality of the interface between the socket and residual limb. Alignment is the important relationship of the socket, ankle and foot in a below-knee prosthesis (adding the knee for an above-knee limb).  

Alignment is corrected as necessary in response to new components introduced or changes in physical condition. The prosthetist adjusts the positioning of the lower components in relation to the socket to provide the best-possible balance, comfort, function, energy efficiency and cosmesis. Traditional mechanical methods are now being enhanced by advanced laser and digital equipment that bring new simplicity and precision to the alignment process.

Follow-up & Maintenance

After receiving their permanent prosthesis, new amputees usually return to our office several times for adjustments to their prosthesis and to pose questions that become evident as they gain endurance and "spread their wings." After a few months, the need for return visits typically declines to once every 3-4 months. Follow-up visits address any problems patients may be having and routine maintenance, cleaning and replacement of mechanical and electronic components. Follow-up is a lifelong activity.