New System Speeds Orthotic/Prosthetic Design

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A new digital system for lower extremity prosthetic and orthotic design applications factors out almost 100 percent of the subjectivity involved in the design process.

Keith Watson, CPO, Fourroux O&P, Huntsville, Alabama, and Vorum Research Corporation, Vancouver, BC, Canada, have created VORUM/FREEDOM SYSTEMS™. This technology uses a non-contact optical laser scanner which does not need to be traced over a limb to capture data.

VORUM/FREEDOM SYSTEMS was introduced to the orthotic and prosthetic profession in Orlando, Florida, during the Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP) in March 2002. Successful transtibial sheath fits were attained for amputees Todd Anderson, CP, FAAOP, and Carl Caspers, CPO, TEC Interface Systems (figure 1). VORUM/ FREEDOM SYSTEMS is currently being tested with all major manufacturer's liners and is now available for purchase by US facilities accredited by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics (ABC).

Conventional Methods vs VORUM/FREEDOM SYTEMS

Here's how it works...

The traditional method of taking a plaster cast presents several inconsistencies in the clinical measurement of the patient/client and treatment protocol. One of the most significant features of the traditional casting method is that it requires the practitioner to manually manipulate the underlying soft tissue and bony anatomy in order to achieve "proper anatomical alignment." One must be careful not to distort the tissue to a degree that will be detrimental to the final fit of orthoses, such as custom-molded AFOs, or prosthetic sockets.

The VORUM/FREEDOM SYSTEMS digital method is much more accurate than conventional methods. This system changes prosthetic and orthotic design into an "objective" process and eliminates the unnecessary steps that a conventional process requires.

VORUM/FREEDOM SYSTEMS consists of a handheld non-contact optical laser scanner, a transmitter that creates the working envelope, and a software package that is specifically designed for capturing surface data from lower extremity patients for both orthotic and prosthetic applications. Transtibial amputees extend their knee (figure 2) and stroke patients sit in a specially designed device (figure 3). The VORUM/FREEDOM SYSTEMS technician then scans the surface anatomy of the limb.

The entire process for a transtibial amputee, once a silicone, urethane, or gel liner is applied takes less than 60 seconds. For a lower extremity orthotic patient-for example, a stroke patient-the process is usually completed in less than two minutes.

The prosthetist/orthotist then oversees design, modification, and fabrication of the device. The entire design process is now done digitally at Fourroux O&P, greatly decreasing the amount of time the patient has to wait to receive the custom device.

Training and Fabrication Center

Beginning August 1, 2002, ABC-certified practitioners from all over North America will be invited to attend the rigorous VORUM/FREEDOM SYSTEMS Training Camp at the FREEDOM SYSTEMS Training and Fabrication Center, Huntsville, Alabama. Prosthetic design training includes the use of scientific fluid flow principles in transtibial socket design analysis and application of objective hydrostatic system modification techniques.

In addition to bringing about the evolution of transtibial socket design, VORUM/FREEDOM SYSTEMS technology also enables orthotic practitioners to scan and design custom lower-extremity orthotic devices. Orthotists from around the country will soon begin training in these new techniques.

For more information, contact Keith Watson, CPO, the first ABC-certified practitioner qualified to teach the FREEDOM SYSTEMS to prosthetic and orthotic professionals, Fourroux O&P, 404 Governors Drive, Huntsville, Alabama 35801; 888.810.6220; fax: 256.539.9755; e-mail:

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