It’s well known that pediatric O&P care involves far more than just fitting scaled-down devices for children. It presents unique challenges, as in childhood-specific conditions and growth rates, and exacerbates others, such as cost, durability, and compliance that clinicians face with their adult patients. In this issue we look at some ways the profession is addressing these clinical dilemmas.
Since its introduction, there has been some skepticism within O&P about using 3D printing in the fabrication of devices. However, as the technology has advanced, so has acceptance of its use for some applications within the profession. In “Is 3D Printing a New Toy or a New Tool in Pediatric O&P?” we discuss how 3D printing can help address issues with the devices’ cost, weight, and need for frequent replacement for the pediatric population. While early concerns about durability are beginning to be addressed with improvements in materials and equipment, the experts we spoke with caution that not all of these devices are created equal, and clinician involvement is important to quality outcomes.
One common pediatric intervention is orthotic treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Though there are many different braces, practitioners agree that the overall approach to correction and wear time are more important than a brand. In “Bracing the Curve,” practitioners discuss the strategies they use and complexities they face when approaching this specialized area of orthotic practice.
When working with pediatric patients, clinicians are nearly always faced with the need to consider the feelings of the parents or caregivers and the patients themselves. This balancing act and who should have input into decision-making regarding treatment is explored in “Bioethics in Pediatric Orthotics & Prosthetics: Assent.” Though primary clinical consent flows from the parent, this approach asserts that age-appropriate patient assent should be employed as well.
I hope you enjoy this issue focused on providing care for children complete with the challenges and joys it brings.