A novel, low-cost transradial socket fabrication method using mass-producible components and expanding rigid foam

Laura A. Miller*, Thomas Pickerill, Todd A. Kuiken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Millions of people in low- and middle-income countries lack access to prosthetic care. A well-fitting, durable socket is important for prosthesis comfort and function, but conventional fabrication techniques require highly trained clinicians and specialized equipment. Objectives: To increase access to prosthetic care by developing a simple, low-cost socket fabrication method that does not require specialized equipment or electricity, and can be performed by persons with minimal prosthetic training. Study Design: Socket fabrication methods and socket function were evaluated in a pilot feasibility study. Technique: We describe a rapid method for fabricating a rigid foam socket directly over the residual limb, with a mass producible, strong, cosmetically appealing plastic outer shell. We fabricated sockets for four individuals with unilateral transradial amputations and evaluated socket function. Results: An individual with no formal prosthetic training was able to fabricate sockets and assemble a functional, comfortable prosthesis system within 90 min. All necessary supplies can be provided in a kit for under US$100. Discussion: Further work is required to determine durability, assess comfort, refine suspension methods, and to develop instructional materials. Conclusions: We developed a simplified, inexpensive method to fabricate sockets on the residual limb using expandable foam with an integrated cosmetic/structural covering (i.e. an exoskeletal system), for persons with transradial amputation. A transradial prosthesis socket can be fabricated in around 90 min. and all necessary materials, tools, and written instructions for fabrication and fitting can be provided in a kit. Specialized equipment and electricity are not required. Instructions for fabrication and fitting can be provided in multiple languages using online videos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProsthetics and orthotics international
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • fabrication techniques
  • prosthetic design
  • prosthetics
  • Prosthetics and orthotics in developing countries
  • socket design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation

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