Orthocare Innovations researcher and prosthetist Jay Martin, CP, FAAOP, uses the Compas and Smart Pyramid to provide an amputee with optimal prosthetic alignment.
(Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/Orthocare Innovations, Steve Sisney)

Orthocare Innovations, Oklahoma City, has received the 2010 da Vinci Award for its Compas™ Computerized Prosthesis Alignment System, a device that helps improve the alignment of prostheses for people with leg amputations.

The da Vinci Awards are a global awards program presented by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to recognize and celebrate the world’s most innovative adaptive and assistive technologies.

Traditionally, aligning a prosthesis has been a complex and difficult challenge for prosthetists, says the company. Where each component of the prosthesis is placed in relation to the others helps determine how the residual limb bears weight and whether the patient’s intended movement is transferred efficiently through the leg. Alignment that is less than ideal can lead to fatigue, increased risk of injury due to falls, blistering and bruising inside the socket, and lack of confidence while performing everyday tasks.

Prosthetists have traditionally had to try to determine optimal alignment by watching the patient walk, eyeballing the movement dynamics, then adjusting and readjusting the alignment multiple times. Amputees commonly need many office visits to get good enough alignment to feel comfortable and confident going about their day, according to the company. Few prosthetists have access to gait laboratories, which use expensive, specialized equipment to gather alignment data.

The Compas system combines two devices—the Smart Pyramid™ and the Compas Master alignment-detection unit—with the Bluetooth-enabled Compas software to continuously measure the forces of balance and movement that act on a prosthetic limb while the prosthesis wearer is standing or walking on any terrain. The Smart Pyramid is a lightweight, sensor-packed device that is built into the prosthetic limb in place of a traditional prosthetic pyramid (a steel or titanium component that sits below the socket) and measures the movement forces acting on the limb. During an office visit, the prosthetist connects the Smart Pyramid to the Compas master unit, which contains gyroscopes and accelerometers that help read and analyze the Smart Pyramid’s data. The Compas master then transmits the data to the Compas software, which analyzes the movement data and provides graphical readouts and suggested instructions for improving the alignment.

The prosthetist can also use reports from the Compas system to help prove to insurance companies or Medicare that the prosthesis is beneficial. Many insurance companies refuse to pay for prosthetic limbs unless the prosthetist can prove a benefit to the patient, and may automatically reject requests to pay for high-tech limbs, which can dramatically improve a patient’s quality of life. The Compas reports provide objective proof that a prosthesis has helped improve patient gait, a key factor in health.

Nominations for the award this year were received from across the United States, Canada, the UK, France, and Denmark. The US entries hailed from 17 states and the District of Columbia.

Orthocare Innovations is a medical-device research and product-development company focused on bringing to market advanced technologies to improve clinical efficiency and enhance the quality of patient care in the rehabilitation, prosthetics, and orthotics markets.

[Source: Orthocare Innovations]