Össur Highlights Unity Sleeveless Vacuum System at AOPA 2014

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AOPA 2014 attendees will have the opportunity to view the latest additions to the Össur® Unity® Sleeveless Vacuum System, which is now available for anyone with a lower-limb amputation, whether transfemoral/above-knee (AK) or transtibial/below-knee (BK).

"Previous elevated vacuum systems weren't practical for most above-knee amputees, but Unity makes elevated vacuum accessible and easy-to-use for the full range of K2, K3, AK, and BK amputees," says Lori Pipinich, CPO, Össur's Director of Vacuum Solutions.

Unity's innovative sleeveless design enables above-knee amputees to enjoy greater unrestricted range-of-motion. Weighing less than 5 oz., the compact, lightweight system is integrated directly into the prosthetic foot, and built directly into the foot plate rather than on a pylon. Because the system adds no additional build height, Unity can accommodate individuals with varying residual limb lengths. The Seal-In® liner technology, a fundamental component of the Unity system, incorporates Volume Adaptive Blades that are designed to conform to the residual limb, helping to distribute pressure evenly at the distal end, where volume fluctuations typically occur.

"Most prosthetists will agree that both AK and BK amputees have volume change challenges, which can lead to instability, discomfort, and risk of falls. We believe Unity is the first effective elevated vacuum solution for AK as well as BK amputees," says Tom Daniels, CPO/PT, Director of Össur Academy Prosthetics.

"Customers have frequently told us their patients want the security and volume control of vacuum suspension, without the sensation and restrictions associated with wearing a sleeve," said Kim De Roy, CPO/PT, Össur Americas' Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Education, Prosthetics. A below-knee amputee who is currently training for a marathon, De Roy reports his own prosthesis continues to fit well thanks to Unity, despite losing an estimated 20 lbs. from training. "The name Unity reflects the system's integrated nature-it works seamlessly with a user's prosthesis, and can be used by all."

According to Craig Mackenzie, CP, RTP(c), Össur's Director of Custom Solutions, earlier vacuum systems created negative pressure suction by either piston pump or battery. Mackenzie, who played a pioneering role in vacuum technology over the past two decades, says Unity achieves and maintains vacuum pressure through a more biomechanically natural process, activating through heel strike action whenever the user takes a few steps. This mechanical function also eliminates potential motor failure and battery recharging needs.

"CPs who are familiar with traditional vacuum systems may wonder whether silicone will work for elevated vacuum, and whether Unity is effective and comfortable without using a sleeve," he says. He adds that Össur's testing, which adhered strictly to standards for the original elevated vacuum technology, showed that Unity sleeveless elevated vacuum maintained excellent volume control, and confirmed that silicone liners were capable of providing the same support and comfort in a vacuum system as urethane.

Unity is now available for both mechanical and microprocessor prosthetic knees, as well as a full range of dynamic and stable Flex-Foot® feet, including Össur's K2 Sensation®, PROPRIO FOOT®, LP Vari-Flex®, Vari-Flex, LP Rotate™, Re-Flex Rotate™, and Re-Flex Shock™.