24 Mar Elevated Vacuum: why it is beneficial for lower limb amputees
The lack of perfect adherence of the socket to the residual limb may result in the phenomenon commonly known as “pistoning” (axial movement between the residual limb and the prosthetic socket), which may lead to a series of unpleasant issues for our patients, such as poor proprioception, inadequate control of the prosthesis, falls and serious skin issues.
The elevated vacuum generated by the use of a pump like Alps VIP ensures that the socket fits perfectly and that weight is distributed evenly over the surface of the residual limb, significantly reducing of some of the most troublesome problems that can arise when contact between the socket and the residual limb is compromised.
Let’s take a closer look at what elevated vacuum is and how ALPS V.I.P. ensures patients’ maximum comfort when wearing the prosthesis.
Elevated vacuum suspension is a system where a mechanism or pump pulls the air out of the prosthetic socket, generating a negative pressure that is the same across the whole surface; this negative pressure pulls the liner and the patient’s residual limb towards the inner socket wall. It is called “elevated” to distinguish it from a simple one-way expulsion valve; this latter is able to reach a minimal level of vacuum (0 to 2 mmHg of pressure), while the elevated vacuum generates a higher pressure, that tightly secures the residual limb and the prosthetic liner inside the socket.
Benefits of ALPS VIP for lower limb amputees
- First of all, according to a variety of research studies, Elevated Vacuum Systems like ALPS V.I.P. air-expulsion integrated pump preserve residual limb skin health, by improving circulation and consequently increasing residual limb oxygenation and by maintaining an effective skin barrier (as measured by Trans Epidermic Water Loss).
- ALPS V.I.P. also efficiently deals with the problem of stump volume fluctuations, improving prosthesis control. Changes in residual limb volume present serious challenges for people who use prosthetic limbs. Residual limb volume changes can in fact cause changes in how the prosthesis fits, creating discomfort, diminished control of the artificial limb and increased pressure at the socket interface. Elevated vacuum systems help limit residual limb volume changes throughout the course of the day, maintaining a more steady stump volume.
- In addition, Elevated Vacuum Systems minimize pistoning, leading to better proprioception and socket stability. Reducing axial limb-socket movement also helps to keep the skin of the residual limb healthy and helps keep the limb in position even during unloaded conditions.
- Finally, the use of the V.I.P. vacuum pump reduces the intensity of peaks of pressure on the patient’s limbs, improving comfort and providing greater freedom of movement for the patient
Designed for a wide range of prosthetic applications
The features that CPOs like best about ALPS V.I.P. are how easy it is to install and its lightness: it is fitted at the distal end of the prosthetic socket, like a silicone distal pad.
ALPS V.I.P. is also battery-free and doesn’t require pistons and cylinders to pump air out of the socket: the load the prosthetic user puts on the residual limb during ambulation is what activates the vacuum pump
ALPS V.I.P. is perfect both for laminated and thermoplastic sockets and allows the technician complete freedom to choose the socket adapter, prosthetic foot and prosthetic liner most suitable for the needs and lifestyle of the amputee.
ALPS V.I.P. is available in two different vacuum levels: Low Elevated Vacuum or High Elevated Vacuum. Compared to other elevated vacuum systems available on the market, the V.I.P. provides a more comfortably elevated level of vacuum. The low vacuum (green dot) offers a gentle elevated vacuum, bringing the benefits of this innovative suspension system even to fewer active amputees, while the high vacuum version (red dot) is the ideal choice for more dynamic prosthetic users and for users already accustomed to other elevated vacuum systems.
The two versions of the V.I.P. pump are completely interchangeable: the prosthetic technician can easily modify the level of vacuum by simply switching from one unit to the other, according to the needs and desires of the patient.
ALPS V.I.P. guarantees an enhanced comfort experience for a wide range of lower-limb prosthetic patients.