Just over three years ago, Eli suffered blood poisoning, with the result that both legs had to be amputated below the knees, as well as four of his fingers. When she woke up after three months in a coma, she was quite clear that she would not spend the rest of her life lying and sitting — she was going to leave.
"I came to Sunnaas hospital in rehab, where I came into contact with an orthopedic engineer from OCH Orthopedics. I was told that with them I could have cast dentures directly on the body. "I want that," I said.
New prostheses in one day
Eli describes herself as quite stubborn, and she was allowed to come to OCH Orthopedics that make prostheses using a method called "Direct Socket" – DS. For the patient, this means that the new prosthesis will be made in a single day – instead of having to come in several times to take measurements, try prosthetics, new adaptations etc.
– The traditional method of making a prosthesis is that a plaster cast or a 3D of the amputation stump is taken to prepare a copy of the bone stump. From this model, the finished prosthetic sleeve is made, explains orthopedics engineer Chris Greenway at OCH Orthopedics.
The traditional methods are time consuming. Gypsum must dry before casting on it, and 3D scanning cannot be done with pressure against the stump. Accordingly, the changes that occur in the soft parts must be modelled in, before you can mill out a model and get started with a screed of the sleeve.
– If you measure and make plaster casting, in most cases it must be adjusted anyway, especially if it has been a long time between the measurements and the prosthetic sleeve is finished. It means that most often the patient must come again several times. DS requires that we plan well in advance, before the patient arrives, so that the process of casting the prosthetics runs smoothly," says Chris.
On patients like Eli, whom we know well and where the goal of the prostheses is well mapped, we can prepare, so she can get everything done except cosmetics on the same day.
In other words, there is a lot of work done that the patient does not "see" – Direct Socket is by no means a "quick fix" for making prostheses. DS is also not the best solution for everyone.
"If you have tried to get dentures made in this way, you will never return to plaster casting," adds Eli.