Health fair highlights cutting-edge prosthetics in Las Vegas

Updated February 11, 2018 - 4:47 pm

Limbs are gone. Spirits remain attached. Medical science is the bridge between them. “There’s a lot of falling down,” says double amputee Matthew Brewer, settling onto a bench after a series of slow but steady strides on his prosthetic, microprocessor-guided legs. “It’s getting up one more time than you fall that matters.”

Gumption and grace — integral to living in a new reality — were the hallmarks of amputees who milled amid industry professionals at the recent Hanger Education Fair at the Rio. Hundreds of prosthetic/orthotic exhibitors and professionals crowded the event, sponsored by industry heavyweight Hanger Inc., which operates 600-plus patient care offices nationwide, including two in Las Vegas and one in Henderson.

Approximately 1.7 million Americans are amputees, as estimated by the Amputation Coalition of America. Several at the Vegas conference who are fitted with cutting-edge prosthetics and limb-assisting orthotic devices vividly illustrated their struggles — and triumphs.

Limitations erased. Mobility restored. Those are the goals as technology marches forward in the fields of prosthetics and orthotics. Following are several advances displayed at the Hanger Education Fair:

Enhanced Bebionic Hand

Flexibility is emphasized in this “multi-grip hand” powered by electronic sensors placed in the surface of the skin inside the prosthesis. The sensors relay signals from a patient’s remaining muscles to a microprocessor in the hand. Made with carbon fiber, it features eight “power grip” patterns so patients can hold a bag or suitcase, handle a cellphone, type on a keyboard and push a grocery cart. Attachments include “The Greifer,” which, with 26 pounds of pinch force, can perform heavy-duty functions such as lifting and sawing.

The Rheo Knee

Microprocessor-powered knees based on “rheo-magnetic” technology (magnetic field) are designed to increase activity and stability. Sensors detect where the knee is and tiny magnets allow the knees to bend or swing with more mobility. If someone is off-balance, it will sense it and lock into standing mode to prevent involuntary movement and potential falls.

The Comfort Flex Adapt Socket System

Technology in this prosthesis allows for adjustments to the socket system (the shell encasing the residual limb) so if a patient experiences anatomical fluctuations and changes in muscle volume — if they’re feeling bloated, or there’s muscle growth from exercise — the sockets can tighten and loosen as needed for long periods of comfort.

The Exosym (abbreviation for “exoskeletal symmetry”)

Designed to spare patients from amputation, this device attaches to the leg to stimulate motion even when the limb has lost function. Custom-made, it can slip into a shoe and a specialized foot plate removes pressure by making contact with the ground first, sending energy and weight to a series of struts that deflect impact and pain. In effect, it turns the leg into a prosthesis that can walk for the patient, but is still their own limb.

The Elan Foot

Controlled by a microprocessor, this technological step forward allows ankle motion, which had not been possible in previous devices. Sensors manipulate a hydraulic unit built into the foot. As the patient walks, it identifies where a foot is — whether going uphill or downhill or on uneven ground — and adjusts accordingly. Mobility can be individualized via computer to patients’ capabilities with different terrain, and it conserves their energy by conducting much of the motion for them.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like