Prosthetic Categories

Western Mass. Lab Simplifies Access to Cutting-Edge Prosthetics

    Prosthetic technology has shown impressive developments over the past few years, but not everyone can access these high-tech devices. Orthotics and Prosthetics Labs (O&P Labs) hopes to change this.

     O&P Labs in Springfield holds an annual "trial day" to connect people with limb loss with cutting-edge prosthetics.

    Every year, O&P Labs holds a “trial day” to connect individuals with limb loss or limb difference to new, state-of-the-art prosthetic technology that can significantly impact their quality of life. This year, the event was held in April in the Springfield lab.

    On display were the latest micro-processing prosthetic devices. These high-tech prosthetic knees and ankles are equipped with gyroscopes and sensors that take readings every five milliseconds and adjust to give prosthetic users control, endurance, strength, and stability.

    One of the attendees, Joe, said in an interview with WWLP-22News that he plans to upgrade to a microprocessor knee from a hydromechanical one. He said that the new knee is better for his active lifestyle and reduces the risk of accidents at home. With his old knee, Joe falls about once a month.

    Unfortunately, patients and their healthcare providers don't always have access to this life-changing technology. Prosthetic users have to qualify for these kinds of high-tech prosthetics.

    Getting approval for basic prosthetic units is already a struggle for prosthetic users, even though their insurance program covers it, said Jeff Quelet, a clinical prosthetist for Proteor, a manufacturer of components for lower limb prostheses, in an interview with 22 News. For cutting-edge technology, like the ones on display at O&P Labs’ trial day, a prosthetic user’s healthcare team needs to prove that the patient will benefit from using the high-tech prosthetic device.

    This means that when insurers make decisions about approving advanced prosthetics for people with limb loss or limb difference, higher mobility scores without advanced prosthetics are more likely to get approval. On the other hand, those with lower mobility scores might be denied. However, people with lower scores can work on improving their mobility using simpler, less advanced options.

    O&P Labs are constantly taking new patients in their Springfield, Pittsfield, and Northampton locations. If you or someone you know is interested in exploring and testing high-tech prosthetic devices, you can get in touch with the lab.