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Why Is 3D Scanning Important for a Proper Prosthesis Fit?

Prosthetic limbs can play an important role in the rehabilitation process for people who have lost an arm, leg, or other extremities as a result of amputation. They not only help improve mobility, but they also empower amputees to stay independent and navigate their day-to-day lives easier. 

As such, prostheses are generally custom fit to the exact shape and size of a patient’s limb to ensure maximum comfort and functionality. Fortunately, advancements in medical technology, like 3D scanning, have made the prostheses fitting process easier and more accurate.

With 3D scanning, we have the potential to create three-dimensional visualization of any product without even a millimeter out of shape. This means that patients can now have their prostheses customized using high-resolution images that provide more detailed information than ever before. This not only helps make sure that the limb fits properly—which makes it easier to use and improves comfort—but also allows for adjustments to be made as often as necessary throughout the life of a prosthetic limb.

Keep reading to learn more about 3D scanning and how it can help with the prosthesis fitting process.

What Is 3D Scanning?

3D scanning, also known as photogrammetry, is now becoming increasingly popular in the medical field for its use in prosthesis fitting. Instead of having a technician custom-tailor a prosthetic over a week, 3D scanning can get all the complex work done in just 15 minutes, and the resulting scan can be 3D printed in almost no time. Moreover, 3D-printed prosthetic limbs are more affordable and can even be customized to the most minute details, including the patient’s skin tone. 

How Can 3D Scanning Help with Prosthesis Fitting?

Before the early 1990s, plaster of Paris was used to capture the exact shape and size of the limb to create a prosthesis. This process is often referred to as shape capture. The plaster of Paris was poured into a mold, then modified with various sculpting tools to achieve the final shape before wet lamination or thermoforming. Later, as technology evolved, digital fabrication transformed how prosthesis fitting was done, and now shape capture happens with the help of computers.

CNC carving of foam, plaster molds, or 3D printing are all examples of digital fabrication. 3D scanning is now becoming one of the most preferred ways of getting fitted for a new prosthesis. This is because it is a more accurate way of measuring and creating a custom socket for your prosthetic limb, ensuring better fit and comfort. 

The quality of the measurements from 3D scanning provides more information about where the parts should be placed in relation to each other, helping them form a tight fit around your limb. This will help you minimize the pain and discomfort that would otherwise be caused by poorly fitting prosthetic components or uneven pressure points on the body.

3D scanners can also be used to make temporary or permanent prostheses that have been fitted using 3D scan data as opposed to traditional methods like physical measurement or handcrafting. This also allows for greater customization since prostheses can be made in all sizes without having to compromise on style or comfort. 

Additionally, since 3D scanners can capture details, such as pores on the skin, and at high resolutions, they can help create more realistic models than those created with photographs alone. These devices have no limitations when it comes to materials and can work with virtually any material. 

The 3D Scanning Process for Upper Extremities

3D scanning is a process that uses a specialized device to take digital images of an object, person, or space. The scanner captures data points on the surface of the object and then uses a computer program to combine these data points into a 3-dimensional image. When this principle is applied to prosthesis fitting and design, the results we get are more accurate and ensure better fit and comfort for the patient. 

When it comes to prosthesis fitting for upper limbs, the process begins with identifying the patient’s needs through an initial interview about their lifestyle, hobbies, and activities, as well as any challenges they face with their current prosthesis fit. 

After this assessment, there will be follow-up appointments to take measurements. 

Step 1: The technician will pay attention to the shape of the residual limb before scanning. 

Step 2: They will make sure that the fingers are spread evenly, and the wrist is properly positioned. If the fingers are placed too wide, or the wrist is titled at an unnatural angle, it can negatively affect the 3D scanning image quality.

Step 3: If it is a partial hand, wrist, or above wrist amputation or wrist disarticulation, they will use a blue tack to mark the side with the palm before the scan.

Step 4: Then, they will take a photo of the residual limb with blue tack and send it together with the STL file.

Step 5: The prosthetic experts at Fit Prosthetics will get a clear visualization of the blue tack mark on the cast to represent the palm. Also, it’s best to scan the forearm at least 70 mm from the wrist position. This will give us more data for the trail fabrication.

Step 6: If the residual limb has no obvious wrist position, the technician will use a blue tack to mark three dots on the wrist area to represent the palm and wrist position.

Step 7: If the residual limb has sensitive spots, place blue tack on the center of the sensitive spot and mark the size of the sensitive site on the photo when we print out the 3D cast. We can compare the cast against the picture; then, we can locate the accurate position and estimate the actual size of the sensitive spot.

The 3D Scanning Process for Lower Extremities

The 3D scanning process for the lower extremities is similar to the one for the upper extremities. The process begins with the patient having their foot or ankle flexed, which helps create a more accurate representation of the limb as it would be in everyday use. Once this step has been completed, a scanner will be placed over the patient’s limb and rotated around it at different angles. This allows for both topographical data and surface measurements to be collected without any additional invasive techniques being used on the patient’s body.

Once all of this information has been collected by your 3D scanner, you’ll need to process it so that you can create a prosthesis model based on these measurements.

The Benefits of Using 3D Scanning for Prosthesis Fitting

Helps Create a Pressure Map

3D scanning can create artificial limbs more efficiently. When you stand upright, there are certain pressure points in your feet. Insoles are shaped based on these points. 3D scanning makes it easy to extract the patient’s pressure map.

More Accurate

With 3D scanning, casting accuracy is enhanced. This technology doesn’t miss out even on a millimeter. As a result of 3D scanning’s accuracy, medical professionals can eliminate errors while taking measurements and creating pressure maps. They can also speed up the prosthesis designing process without compromising on quality

Improved Comfort

A 3D-printed prosthetic limb will be more stable and durable, which means you can wear it longer without pain or discomfort. It will also be easier on your skin since the prosthetic device won’t run or rub against your skin as much. The result is that you’ll feel better in general while wearing your artificial limb if it’s fitted properly and doesn’t interfere with your daily activities.


Digitizing the fitting process can also save time and reduce overall costs. For example, when using a physical mold, you must also take into consideration the time and money involved in shipping the mold to labs and manufacturing facilities. On the other hand, 3D scanning allows medical professionals to treat many patients at once with greater precision, speeding up the process and helping you save money and time by minimizing the need for corrections. 

3D scanning is a new and exciting technology that is helping to transform the field of prosthesis fitting. With this technique, patients can get a more accurate fit in less time with fewer visits than traditional methods. Contact the Fit Prosthetics team in Salt Lake City, Utah, to learn more about 3D scanning and prosthesis fitting. 

Pediatric Prosthetics 101 – What You Need to Know

If you find out that your child has a limb difference or needs an amputation, it can be a difficult time for the whole family. As a parent, you want what’s best for your child and are probably worried about how this will affect their life.

A prosthesis has the ability to restore your child’s mobility and give them the freedom to live their life to the fullest. But, there is an adjustment period, and your little one will need help and support to get used to their new artificial limb.

Here, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about pediatric prosthetics. Keep reading to learn more about the pediatric prosthesis process, if it is the right choice for your child, and how you can help your child transition to their new prosthetic.

What Are the Types of Pediatric Prosthesis?

Prostheses are custom-made artificial limbs that are designed to accommodate the needs of your child. The main purpose of a prosthesis is to improve the mobility and functionality of an upper or lower extremity. There are two major types of pediatric prostheses: upper extremity prostheses and lower extremity prostheses.

Upper Extremity Prosthesis

Whether your child needs a prosthetic limb because of congenital upper limb deficiencies or upper extremity amputation due to an accident or illness, upper limb prostheses can help them regain several functions of their fingers and hands.

Depending on where they are fitted and how they work, upper extremity prostheses are further classified into:

Transradial Prosthesis

A trans-radial prosthetic encompasses both the forearm and the wrist. It is fitted on the arm below the elbow.

Transhumeral Prosthesis

Transhumeral prosthesis are one of the hardest prosthesis to attach because it sits on the arm above the elbow. It still lacks the full functionality required to mimic someone’s natural movements—though there have been several advancements to improve this aspect.

One of the most common attachment methods for a transhumeral prosthetic is to use a suction system. Another option to affix the prosthetic limb is the roll-on linear system.

Passive Prosthesis

This prosthesis is often prescribed as the first prosthesis for infants. Its main function is to enhance the cosmetic appearance of a limb deficiency. Though passive prostheses can’t aid with active motion, they still improve functionality by creating a surface to stabilize objects.

Body-Powered Prosthesis

Cables and harnesses are used to direct the movement of a body-powered prosthesis. Patients use motion from other parts of their body to mechanically control their new limb.

Myoelectric Prostheses

These battery-powered prostheses get their cues from the electrical signals sent from the patient’s muscle movements.

Lower Extremity Prostheses

Based on your child’s amputation and activity level, there are a wide variety of lower extremity prosthetic components and designs you can choose from.

The first component is the socket, the part of the prosthesis that covers the residual limb. You can find a range of socket designs that can be customized to meet your child’s comfort and functionality needs.

Another aspect you need to pay attention to is suspension. This refers to how the prosthesis stays on your child’s body. From pin locking to lanyard and suction, suspension of lower limb prostheses can vary based on your child’s size, weight, and daily activity level.

If your child requires a prosthetic two, you generally have two options—microprocessor and non-microprocessor. A microprocessor knee joint is computerized, battery-powered, and uses sophisticated technology to enhance your mobility and the way you walk. Non-microprocessor knee joints rely on well-designed mechanical components to ensure safety and stability while walking and standing.

How to Choose the Right Prosthesis for Your Child?

Whether or not your child chooses to wear a prosthetic device will depend on various physical and environmental factors, including age, level of mobility, and how often they will wear it. For example, selecting the right prosthetic foot depends on your child’s age, size, and level of activity.

Most children with lower-limb differences use their prostheses every day. In contrast, children with prosthetic upper limbs may choose not to wear them only when doing a particular activity such as playing a sport or a musical instrument. In this case, the upper limb prosthesis can be customized to suit the activity.

Most pediatricians recommend that infants get fitted with prostheses as early as 9 to 12 months old. At this stage, they are usually given passive prosthetic limbs. This will allow them to get used to their new limb and make the transition process easier.

Starting from around age two, the child may benefit from activity-specific prosthetic attachments for sports and other hobbies. Myoelectric limbs only become a realistic option from around age three or four.

It is important to discuss your child’s needs and goals with your pediatrician and an experienced prosthetic provider so they can help you find the right prosthetic device.

How Are Pediatric Prosthetics Different from Adult Prosthetics?

Fitting children with prosthetic limbs is significantly different from helping adults in the same situation. Unlike adults, children don’t yet have the experience, emotional maturity, and physical strength needed to respond to the transition in the same way.

From the assessment to fitting and review appointments, children require a team of pediatricians, physical therapists, prosthetic specialists, and other caregivers to provide them with the sensitive and customized care they deserve during the process.

Another major difference between prosthetic limbs for children and adults is that children will have to replace their current prosthetic limbs every 18 to 26 months. This is essential as children require prostheses that fit them properly and support them as they grow and develop fine motor skills.

At FIT Prosthetics, we have extensive experience working with pediatric prosthetics, and you can rely on us to always ensure your child is properly equipped.

How to Help Children Adjust to Their New Prostheses?

Stay Informed and Prepared

First, you need to take time to prepare your child and yourself for the changes that are about to come. Read up on limb differences and prosthetic limb care so you can be a source of support and knowledge for your kid on this journey.

Talk to the prosthetist working with your child and find out about all your options and how you can emotionally and physically support your child through this transition. They will also be able to brief you on the latest development in prosthetics and direct you towards the perfect option for your child.

Keep Children in the Loop

The whole process can be a lot scarier for your child when they don’t understand what’s happening. As you will both be making several trips to and from your prosthetist’s office for years to come, it is best to explain to them what’s happening and what they can expect in the future. This is more so important for older children and teenagers.

Better Communication

There will be an adjustment period before your children get used to their new limbs. Work with your children and their rehabilitation team to better understand how to strap on, take off, and care for the prostheses. Don’t forget to ask your prosthetist to teach you to recognize the signs of a poor fit so you can get your child’s prosthesis adjusted promptly.

Your child will have many questions about wearing a prosthetic. Be open and communicative and answer them honestly. Find support groups for you and your child where you can meet people who’ve had similar experiences. Moreover, interacting with other kids who have prosthetic limbs will help your child find the confidence and peer support they need to thrive.

Also, communicate with friends, family, teachers to help them better understand and cater to your child’s needs.

Teach Your Child Proper Limb and Prosthetic Care

Teaching your child how to care for their prosthetic limb will make them feel like it belongs to them instead of something they are forced to wear. It will also help them feel like they have some control over the situation and let them be more independent. Instruct your kids to:

●      Wash their limbs frequently and thoroughly. It is also important to pat it completely dry to avoid infections.

●      Self-inspect regularly for redness and any other signs of infection.

●      Clean every part of the prosthesis that comes in contact with their skin.

●      Check their prosthetic daily to ensure it is a proper fit.

●      Always have emergency supplies like extra socks on hand.

At FIT Prosthetics, we understand how difficult it can be to support your child during their transition to their new normal. But, you don’t have to do it alone—our skilled and compassionate staff will be there for your child from the initial consultation to the end of their rehabilitation. We provide a wide range of services to cater to your kid’s specific needs, so contact us today.

The 9 Stages of Post-Amputation Physical Therapy & Prosthetic Training

Losing a limb can be incredibly traumatic, and can affect a person both physically and mentally. New amputees don’t just have to manage their grief over their lost limb, but will also have to relearn how to do things that might have been second nature to them. Undergoing an amputation is a life-changing experience, but with the help of modern prosthetics, a seamless rehabilitation is not just possible, but highly achievable.

Over 2 million people live with limb loss in the U.S, and this number is expected to double by 2050 due to the rising prevalence of diabetes and vascular disease. Apart from disease, amputations can be caused by trauma, cancer, or congenital disorders. The majority of amputations are in the lower extremity, which makes physical therapy extremely important during the rehabilitation process.

What Is Amputation Rehabilitation?

Losing a limb, especially a lower limb, will severely impact a person’s mobility and ability to perform daily activities. These obstacles can create a lot of mental stress, as the amputee may feel isolated and unable to easily reintegrate into society. The goal of amputation rehabilitation is to facilitate the recovery of the amputee with prosthetic training so they can return to their lives.

Due to the different hurdles a new amputee faces after their surgery, it’s necessary that amputation rehabilitation is done with a multidisciplinary team. Rehabilitation teams will usually have a physiotherapist in charge, and may include a prosthetist as well to ensure that the prosthesis fitting and training goes smoothly.

Phases of Amputation Rehabilitation

Amputation rehabilitation can be a long and arduous process involving an entire team dedicated to the patient to ensure that they return to a high level of social integration. Amputation rehabilitation typically has nine stages, although certain phases may not be standardized.

Similarly, not everyone will go through the rehabilitation process in the same way—people experience different milestones at different moments in their recovery depending on several factors such as the cause of limb loss, their rehabilitation team, support systems, and more.

1.   Pre-Operative Phase

The pre-operative phase primarily focuses on educating the patient and preparing them for the journey of recovery. This phase is important for those who are facing limb loss due reasons that do not involve accidents or trauma, which require instant treatment. It is important for the doctor or rehabilitation team to take this time to explore patient expectations, and reinforce rational expectations while providing clarity for false assumptions. This time is also used to discuss the surgery as well as to draw up post-operative plans, including choosing and planning out the prosthetic limb with the prosthetist.

2.   During Surgery

Patients will be asleep during the surgery phase, but they can always ask their doctor or surgeon about the procedure beforehand to understand the process of amputation surgery and reconstruction.

3.   Immediate Post-Operative Phase

The immediate post-operative phase begins immediately after the amputation and mostly focuses on recovery in terms of medical and wound care as well as discharge planning. Rehabilitation in this phase will initially involve a lot of pain control and emotional support, but physiotherapy is also necessary at this point to prevent loss of motion.

While there is no easy part of recovery, this stage will likely be one of the most challenging ones for new amputees to face. Apart from the mental difficulties of accepting their new body and mobility, they will also face physical problems. Physical therapy in this period will therefore be focused on ensuring that they don’t lose out on critical mobility skills with specific exercises to improve strength, tolerance, and range of motion.

4.   Pre-Prosthetic Training Phase

This phase is a continuation of the previous phase, with even more emphasis placed on physical therapy to strengthen the limb and maintain flexibility. Pre-prosthetic training also proceeds with the final shaping of the limb to fit the patient’s future prosthesis. Pre-prosthetic training can happen in an inpatient and outpatient capacity and prepares the limb for the prosthetic limb while it heals. Many rehabilitation teams will also conduct pre-prosthetic training prior to the surgery as well.

The main goals of this phase are to promote mobility, self-care, and comprehensive limb support. Patients can also experiment with early walking aids (EWA) to properly narrow down their choice of prostheses options before placing an order, along with exercise therapy and pre-fitting management.

5.   Prosthetic Prescription Phase

The prosthetic prescription phase has two main components:

●      Casting and measuring. The prosthetist will cast and measure the patient’s residuum (the part of the limb remaining after an amputation). The physiotherapist can assist during the casting process to make sure that the pelvis maintains a neutral alignment.

●      Fitting of the prosthetic limb. The prosthetist will then fit the primary prosthesis to the limb to ensure that the alignment and length suit the patient correctly when standing and walking. Physiotherapy is also necessary at this point to provide mobility guidance and training for weight-bearing and static balance.

This phase is a prominent milestone in the recovery process and is vital to the prolonged success of the prosthetic limb.

6.   Prosthetic Training Phase

Once the patient has been successfully fitted for a prosthesis, the patient will begin specialized physical therapy—to increase strength and endurance, increase mobility, and maximize comfort and functionality. During this process, the prosthetist can adjust the prosthesis as required as and when problems arise. The first few months will require a temporary prosthesis as their limb continues to heal, after which they will be fitted with a permanent prosthetic limb.

Physical therapy becomes the core aspect of the rehabilitation process in this phase. Apart from exercises, the patient will also need to be educated on how to properly remove and put on the prosthesis, how to put on footwear and get dressed, as well as training for weight-bearing and skin integrity. They will also have to practice integrating the prosthesis into all their activities. Once the basics of weight-bearing training are over, the patient will have to practice balance, sensory reintegration, muscle re-education, and gait training.

7.   Functional Training Phase

At this point in the rehabilitation process, the patient will probably have learned to function more independently. They will have been discharged, meaning that occupational therapy will now play a large role as the patient resumes their role in their family, community, as well as their hobbies. Occupational therapists will also assist with vocational rehabilitation and training or job modifications.

They will still undergo physical therapy and will learn how to best use their prosthetic limb, as well as how to care for it with regular skin checks and hygiene. It is also important to continue doing contracture prevention exercises as the new amputee slowly reintegrates back into their lifestyle.

8.   Guided Rehabilitation Phase

This phase mostly focuses on the patient’s specific goals as they return to their daily activities. At this point, the rehabilitation plan will need to be tailored or modified to better suit the specific goals and needs of the new amputee. This can include goals such as wanting to go on a hike, running, swimming, cycling, etc., for which the physical therapist can provide strengthening and stretching exercises to specifically achieve that goal.

If you have a specific sport you would like to do; you can also consult a recreational physical therapist who can help you return to your preferred sports and can help you with adaptive recreation equipment.

9.   Follow-Ups Phase

The follow-up or maintenance phase ensures that the patient’s rehabilitation plan and goals continue to grow or change to fit the patient. The patient will be reviewed regularly by the rehabilitation team, namely the physiotherapist, the consultant, and the prosthetic team. They will assess the current function of the prosthesis, if the patient is in need of any adjustments or even a new prosthesis. Depending on the current status of the patient, their physical therapy program can be modified as well.

The goal of these follow-ups is to ensure that the patient has achieved a level of autonomy and function similar or higher than they did before the amputation, as well as to ascertain their physical, mental, and emotional health.

At Fit Prosthetics, we understand that the journey of a new amputee is a difficult one—but you don’t have to do it alone. We are dedicated to being there for you from the initial consultation to the end of your rehabilitation. We provide a wide range of services to provide for your specific needs, so contact us today.

To learn more about funding options and our partners, check out our resources here. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals!