Transfemoral Suction Sockets – a different shape
I am Strathclyde University educated and am now working in Switzerland.
In Switzerland the majority of transfemoral patients are fitted with
suction sockets, including the very elderly and primary patient. In the
UK this was not the case and indeed was felt not possible. The way we
were taught to make a suction socket in the UK was to make it rather
tear-drop shaped, with the proximal circumference normally being
narrower than say 5cm more distal. This was to achieve a proximal seal.
However, the Swiss shape is very different, being usually conical with
suction being maintained, even if the proximal area ‘gaps’. This is
achieved by measuring the circumference under firm tension and then
asking the patient to tighten the musculature. The tape measure is
released at the same time to this new measure. This is repeated for all
incremental circumferences. The cast is then rectified to these
measures. The cast is also shortened by 1-3cm (or wait until the check
socket is made and add appropriate distal padding to fill the space).
When I first came to Switzerland, I really was very impressed by the
success of these sockets. I really would encourage you to try this and I
hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The nylon donning “bag” is also
much easier to use than bandages or a nylon sock.
Lucy Fogarty, prosthetist/orthotist BSc Hons