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

Stefania Fatone*, Ryan Caldwell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalProsthetics and orthotics international
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Artificial limb
  • gait
  • prosthetic socket
  • transfemoral amputation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation

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