3 Types of Suspension Systems Used for Prosthetic Limbs

If you have a friend or family member with an amputated limb, you might be curious as to how a prosthetic limb can stay attached to the wearer’s stump. Perhaps you’ve even asked. The answer is simple: a suspension system. When the prosthetic socket is created, there are two factors that they have to consider: the shape and construction of the socket as well as the system that secures the prosthetic to the limb. There is no one suspension system that can work for every prosthetic. Rather, the prosthetist will determine the system that will work best for each patient’s individual situation. Here are three types of suspension systems that they may consider:


Anatomic suspension

The anatomic suspension system is used on the Patellar tendon-bearing socket. This method works with the help of anatomic structures to keep the prosthetics on. It is commonly used by amputees who have below-knee or knee disarticulation limbs. The below-knee prosthetic suspension, or Supracondylar suspension, has widened medial and lateral socket walls. It can fit snugly above and against the medial condyle. Other anatomic suspensions often use congenital protuberances when the residual limb is fully healed and will not be undergoing any more changes.


Strap, belt, and hinge suspensions

Strap, belt, and hinge suspensions can be considered old school systems. These suspensions are used when an anatomical suspension is not a possibility. The strap suspension comes with a waist belt. When the amputee puts it on, they can adjust the prosthetic easily. This is why a strap suspension is recommended for those who have had an amputation surgery due to the residual limb volume changes. For those with below-knee amputations, a suprapatellar cuff is an excellent choice because it surrounds the thigh and connects to the socket with straps.

This cuff is often used with a waist belt, but some patients can wear the cuff without the belt. In some cases, patients will be prescribed a thigh corset with metal side joints when their residual limb cannot take the weight-bearing load. Although a Silesian belt utilizes suction, there are other suspensions for those who can’t use it such as an elastic suspension belt as well as a hip joint and pelvic belt.


Upper-limb suspension

When it comes to suspension for upper-extremity prostheses, many methods can be used including suction, close fit around anatomy, liner, harness suspensions, and a combination of these. Harness suspension systems can be put on and taken off without any struggles. The downside, however, is that it can create a major restriction on an amputee’s range of motion. Many people also report experiencing discomfort due to the rubbing of the straps. Pure suction is a great suspension method since it does not need a harness for body control.

Gel liner is very functional for above-elbow and below-elbow systems. It is suitable for amputees who are highly active. For patients with short-to-medium transhumeral and transradial limbs, a pin and shuttle lock would be sufficient. This option is light, and the patient does not have to deal with a suspension sleeve with this option. In contrast, for long transradial and wrist disarticulation limbs, a lanyard system may be a better option. This works by connecting the liner to the socket with the help of a strap, ensuring that the prosthetic stays on without problems.

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What is Osseointegration? Our Guide to The Process & Requirements

When it was discovered in the 1950s that human bone was capable of being integrated with titanium, the finding made the biggest impact on the dental industry. In 1995, however, doctors began to use this technology on leg amputees. During surgery, titanium could be implanted into the bone of a patient’s leg, directly connecting the prostheses. This eliminated the need for socket prostheses, which have been known to cause irritation, swelling, and inflammation caused by friction. The implant technology made it easier for amputees to travel for longer distances without discomfort. Osseointegration is a safe technique that allows amputees to increase their mobility and live a higher quality of life after the recovery period.

The osseointegration process

Patients will need to consult their osseointegration outpatients’ clinic about a time and date for their assessment as well as schedule a meeting with a psychologist and a specialist. You will also be asked to fill out a questionnaire. Once your evaluation is finished, all examinations, as well as additional checks, will need to be carried out to completion, and you will need to have paid for at least half of the procedure so that your surgery can be scheduled. If you are flying for this procedure, you will want to book your flight and accommodation as soon as you get your surgery date. You will want to book your stay for about 4 to 6 weeks, which is how long it may take to get all the procedures and care done that you need. When you return to your home country, you will be able to get check-ups via telephone, Facetime, or Skype. Any follow-up x-rays and other images can be done right in a facility in your home country and added to your online patient file in order for your specialists to assess your case anywhere in the world.

The actual surgery

The day before the surgery, you will need to report to the hospital in order to get another medical checkup and clear up any other existing questions you might still be having. When the surgery happens the next day, the surgeon will be integrating the implant into your bone by making an incision to your where the pin will come out in order to connect it to the prostheses. Post-surgery will involve visits twice a day for about 3 to 5 days in a nursing ward. Images of the stump will also be taken after surgery.

Going through rehabilitation

After going through the nursing period, the patient will have to move to a hotel where they will get daily rehabilitation, which involves a physiotherapist twice a week for 2 hours. In this time, you will be strengthening muscles needed in order to get used to the new prosthetic. After rehabilitation is finished, the prosthesis will be adjusted and gait training will begin. This will also be supervised by a psychologist if needed. After gentle rehabilitation and rebuilding of the bone, muscle, and strength in the stump, in the span of a couple of years, amputees should be able to engage in more intensive activities, if they please. That being said, there are some activities that are discouraged due to the increased risk of a bone fracture.

Requirements for osseointegration

Although the applications of osseointegration are still in development, you may want to find out if you are even eligible to get the procedure done. Amputees must be physically mature and must fall under the selection criteria. Typically, this just requires a physically and mentally healthy person without diabetes or a circulatory system disease. Patients who undergo this surgery must stop smoking for 3 months prior to the surgery and will be disallowed to smoke immediately after the treatment as well.

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Osseointegration, Advantages & Drawbacks


The word “Osseointegration” is made up of the Greek word “osteon,” meaning bone, and integration, which has to do with how the process of osseointegration goes. It is an alternative method which involves joining a prosthetic limb to an amputee’s body. There are two stages to this surgical procedure.

The first stage involves a titanium implant called a fixture to be inserted into the morrow of the residual limb’s bone. Over time, the fixture will become integrated with the bone. This may take up to half a year, but once the fixture has become part of the bone, an abutment, which is a titanium extension will be attached to that fixture and will then be brought out through the skin and soft tissues.

The prosthesis will then be able to attach right to the abutment. Both stages of this surgery will require a strict rehabilitation program in order to ensure a successful outcome. This whole process will allow for the gradual progression of weight on the prosthesis in order for amputees to get used to the integration of the prosthetic implant itself. This will prevent fracture or other excessive forces on the implant in the case of falling.


Advantages that Come with Osseointegration

Osseointegration means that there is no socket. Therefore, there is also no sweating or other irritations to the skin that might come with the socket. A socket will often also cause pain, pressure, and discomfort as well.  The prosthesis will be easier to slip in and out of, will have great suspension, and will not restrict hip movement while allowing comfortable sitting positioning. Overall, osseointegration will feel a lot more natural and will allow you to increase your muscle mass. However, there are some drawbacks of osseointegration as well.

Throughout the process, there is a long rehabilitation process that may take a little longer than a year and a half to complete. With these procedures, there is also a risk of infection, fractures, loosening of the implant, and poor cosmesis because of the permanent abutment. An amputee will need daily care to take care of the abutment skin area and may not be involved in high-impact activities like running, jumping or swimming.


Deciding Whether or not It’s Right For You

When this technology was originally invented, it was recommended for transfemoral patients who had issues using the conventional socket prosthesis. Whether their complications were due to allergies, obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, hip contractures or excess weight, this approach may work even better. Upper limb amputees can also benefit from this technology.

If any of these things apply to you or you are just not into the idea of a traditional socket prosthetic, try and ask your doctor if osseointegration is the right procedure for you. Remember to take into account how much time it will take to complete the whole process and what the repercussions are with this surgical procedure. It may or may not work for your situation, so you want to make sure you know what goes into the whole thing in order to better gauge whether or not it is for you.

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All You Need to Know About Skiing as an Amputee

The loss of a limb is devastating, as it means that you won’t be able to enjoy some of the things that you used to be able to before. Yet, it doesn’t have to mean that you have to give up on the things that you love, whether it’s simple activities like cooking or something as daring as a winter sport. For many winter sports lovers, these activities are more than hobbies; they are a way for you to experience the excitement and the rush of adrenaline as you appreciate being alive. No matter what your concerned mother tells you, we’re here to tell you that you can continue to enjoy winter sports as an amputee. Interested? Keep reading to find out more!



A prosthesis is designed to replace a missing limb in your body such as an arm or a leg. They are designed to offer symmetry and support to your body just as your natural limbs do, which means that they have to be meticulously measured and tailored to your body. Although children are likely to learn how to ski with a prosthesis a lot faster and with more proficiency than adults will be able to, the issue is that since they are still growing, the prosthesis will have to be remade often and their equipment adjusted accordingly. This can be quite costly, but it’s still a viable option if you have the funds to do it.


Ortheses are crafted splints that are designed to help with the mobility and functionality of your joints and muscles. The main purposes of an orthosis are to stabilize your joints, compensate for inadequate body parts, and substitute the functions of weak or missing muscles. You will typically be able to ski with most types of orthoses without any issues.


Skiing or snowboarding with a prosthetic limb is obviously a lot different than doing so with your natural arms or legs. For your own safety, you must make sure that you have gone through the proper physiotherapy and rehabilitation and that you have become acclimated to the sensation of using a prosthesis. Additionally, you will need to receive additional training on skiing and snowboarding to make sure that you know all the safety measures and how to control your limbs for the activity.

The next thing you have to consider is the type of equipment you’re using, as each of them has a different level of manoeuvrability and ease of control. Some amputees find it easier to use an adaptive ski such as a mono-ski or a dual-ski rather than a standard one. You will have to test out different equipment to see which one has the best fit for your preferences.


Despite having lost more than one limb, whether it be both arms, both legs, or one or more of each, you should still be able to enjoy skiing as everybody else can. Young amputees have a better chance of performing at a higher level than those who learn to ski later in their lives. Additionally, the amputation condition will affect the way you have to ski, as some may have been able to use only one ski pad while an amputee who has lost both legs may have to use a sit-ski instead.

Learn more about our prosthesis solutions on our product page. Feel free to get in touch with us today to see how we can help!