DP Ortho is now reaching out to help patients in need of prosthetic services that live in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
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I studied in Pretoria where I did my B-Tech degree, after which I worked in Cape Town at Conradie and Groote Schuur hospital where I trained in Corrective Spinal Bracing and Prosthesis. My sweet spot is my practice, where I find fulfilment in my work. I’ve realised that a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.
Thus, I work with all patients regardless of their age or gender, whether short or long term.
My profession is unique because it combines art with science and compassion. I prefer to meet my patients emotionally where they are, learning who they are, listening to what they want and trying my best to meet their expectations.
I listen to what they are and what they are not saying. Listen, listen, listen – trying to cherish my patient’s needs and not only consider what the problem is. I believe in my emotional intelligence enough to judge situations and patients accurately. I realise that my business is about them and not me.
I am excited that we can now reach further and help more people in need.
As an added courtesy, Du Plessis Orthotics and Prosthetics will assist with sleeping arrangements and food for patients that are required to stay for a night or two while awaiting treatment.
We have an understanding of their distinctive needs, and have extensive experience with a variety of upper extremity amputation levels and with the techniques and technology that help make successful upper extremity prosthetic users.
An upper extremity amputee has a variety of prosthetic options.
A body powered or conventional upper extremity prosthetic device is operated by a harness system. The harness system is controlled by specific body movements. The advantages of a conventional prosthesis is that the heavy duty construction of the device gives it a long life; it offers proprioception; it’s less expensive and lighter in weight than myoelectric devices; and there is a reduced cost and maintenance.
A Myoelectric upper extremity prosthetic device is powered by a battery system and is controlled by EMG signals generated during muscle contractions. The advantages of a myoelectric prosthesis is that there is an unlimited functional envelope; it offers functional cosmetic restoration; it can increase a person’s grip force to 20-32 lbs; and the harness system is reduced or eliminated, which offers comfort and increased range of motion.
A passive functional or cosmetic upper extremity prosthetic device is similar in appearance to the non-affected arm or hand and replaces what was lost. It provides simple aid in balancing and carrying. The advantages of this type of prosthesis is that they can be cosmetically appealing; lightweight; simple to use; there is little maintenance; they are great for partial hands and provide opposition.
Depending upon the cause of the amputation there are different levels of lower extremity amputations, listed below:
The Trans metatarsal amputation is more complex than a simple toe amputation. This type of amputation can sometimes cause one to lose all five toes. However, in most cases a simple shoe filler can help relieve any problems with gait.
A chopart or symes amputation is performed through the ankle joint.
A transtibial amputation, is an amputation that occurs below the knee joint. Most patients who receive transtibial amputations are very successful prosthetic wearers. There are numerous suspension systems (pin-lock, passive or elevated vacuum) and designs available for transtibial amputees.
A knee disarticulation (sometimes called a ‘through knee’) is an amputation that involves keeping the femur intact, but the tendons and ligaments attaching the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone) are detached.
There are several advantages of the knee disarticulation over the traditional transfemoral (above-knee) amputation. The first advantage is decreased rehabilitation time since there is less trauma to the femur. Secondly, the adductor group of muscles (the muscles that bring the leg towards the body) is left intact because the bone is not cut. As a result, the patient will have more control over his/her residual limb. The third advantage is that the end of the femur can take some weight bearing at the bottom instead of through the ischium (sitting bone). As well, the length of the residual limb is as long as possible (the entire femur).
The knee disarticulation level presents an interesting challenge to the patient and the prosthetist. For one thing, the end of the femur is larger than the area above it, which means it can be difficult to accommodate this area. As well, the bone is so long it can lower the person’s knee center compared to the opposite side.
A transfemoral amputation, or otherwise known as an above-knee amputation, occurs in the thigh, through the femoral bone (femur). While no amputation is easy to adapt to, the transfemoral amputation does offer more challenges than the lower level amputations. This level of amputation definitely requires more energy when walking with a prosthetic device. A transfemoral prosthesis is more complex because of the addition of a knee joint. There are many systems available for amputees, including many high-tech options.
The hip disarticulation amputation involves removing the femur in its entirety but leaving the pelvis intact. The hemipelvectomy amputation involves removing the femur and a portion of the pelvis. These are the least common levels of amputation. The main causes for these types of amputations are trauma and osteosarcoma (cancer).
Pre-amputation consultations can reduce anxiety and help patients prepare for scheduled amputation surgeries.
Patients in need of emergency adjustments or repairs, patients in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, and any other medical facilities are welcome to call us for a house visit.
“I work with all patients regardless of their age or gender, whether short or long term.”