Smart liner relieves amputee discomfort

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美睫

The world’s first “intelligent” liner is being developed to help relieve the pain and discomfort experienced by thousands of amputees as a result of poorly fitting replacement lower limbs.

苏州美睫

The prototype device includes pressure sensors to help provide the best fit for the prosthetic limb to help prevent tissue damage which leads to painful sores.

Dr Liudi Jiang, of the University of Southampton, said: “Socket fit is the single biggest factor determining whether prosthesis will be successful for a patient.

“If we had a simple way to accurately measure the load at the socket-stump interface and determine the best possible fit for that limb, it would completely transform the socket fit experience for amputees.

“We’re hoping that the development of the intelligent liner will be the first step leading to the ‘holy grail’ in prosthetics – a fully automatic, self-adjusting smart socket interface for amputees.”

Dr Jiang is part of a multidisciplinary team which also includes Professor Dan Bader, an expert in tissue biomechanics and developing sensors designed to assess skin health.

Prof Bader said: “Mechanical forces during physical activities of the amputee can lead to breakdown of soft tissues at the stump, which can prove very difficult to heal and will inevitably result in distress for the patient.”

No two stumps are exactly the same shape and size and even an individual’s stump can change shape over the course of a single day.

Pain, discomfort and ulceration are frequently experienced at the socket interface due to poor fit.

This stems from the excessive build-up of pressure within the limb socket, causing high “loads” on the stump.

Synthetic liners, worn like a sock over the stump, provide some cushioning against the hard socket, but at present there is no convenient way to accurately measure the critical loads at this interface in the clinic.

Without this information, prosthetic fitters face difficulty in fitting replacement limbs and the outcomes for patients are variable.

The intelligent liner will allow clinicians to quickly and accurately assess and optimise socket fit at the outset.

The wireless interface will also monitor changes to socket fit over time, alerting patients of the need to adjust their socket or activities to prevent ulcers from forming.

A university spokesman said: “This relatively practical and potentially low-cost solution could substantially reduce amputees’ follow-up visits to their rehabilitation centres, giving them a better quality of life and at the same time reducing healthcare costs.

“In future, the scientists believe the technology could form the basis for other intelligent materials, for example shoe insoles to prevent diabetic foot ulcers, or mattresses and wheelchairs that protect against pressure sores in immobile or elderly patients.”

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