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Insights from our prosthetists about new technology, advances in prosthetics, & more

Ossur Unity Vacuum System

August 20, 2013

At MCOP, we have been working with vacuum suspension systems increasingly over the past 2 years. During this time, we have applied several vacuum systems to address the varying needs of our clients; we have been generally very pleased with the results. Read our previous post about the benefits of vacuum suspension if you would like to know more about the specific clinical benefits of vacuum systems.

In January of 2013, Ossur was working on the release of its first vacuum system, the Unity, and chose to test the technology with our team. We were one of only a handful of facilities worldwide chosen by Ossur as a test facility, and are currently one of the first offices in the US to be fully certified on the use of the Unity System.

The Ossur Unity system is unique in the way that it uses the natural motion of the prosthetic foot to create vacuum suspension. The vacuum is pulled by a device in the foot shell of the J-shape Flex-Foot, with no batteries or power required.

There are a few key features that make the Unity system unique:

  1. Unity addresses one of the biggest challenges to date with vacuum systems, the necessary knee sleeve. For many amputees, knee sleeves are an annoyance because they restrict range of motion and can cause discomfort. Ossur’s Unity system works together with an Iceross Seal-In liner, creating a sleeve free method of vacuum suspension that allows more range of motion at the knee.
  2. The Seal-In liner creates vacuum on the majority of the residual limb. The area above the seal, near the knee joint remains vacuum free. This unique approach controls volume fluctuations effectively, while providing a solid and secure suspension and allowing the full, unrestricted motion of the knee. The height of the seal can be varied to optimize this effect for users with longer and shorter limbs.
  3. Ossur Unity has zero build height as it fits neatly into the forefoot of the prosthesis. This allows more amputees to enjoy the benefits of vacuum technology, particularly those with longer residual limbs. This has been a big limitation of previous systems.
  4. The system is very lightweight, only 3 or 4 ounces in total. In fact, none of our customers have been able to recognize any difference in weight with this system from their previous non-vacuum device.

It should be noted that for some amputees, vacuum systems may not be an appropriate solution. This is especially true for amputees with medical conditions or medications that can cause limb volume changes.

At the moment, Ossur Unity is only indicated for use by trans-tibial (below knee) amputees, and is designed to work with most, if not all, of the Flex-Foot feet in the near future.

To understand whether Ossur Unity is right is right for you; request a consultation with one of our qualified prosthetists.

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