We continue our series on suspension with a look at suction type liners. Suction suspension liners come in a variety of forms, but they all share some common characteristics. The air is expelled through a one-way valve as the prosthetic is donned. The prosthesis is held onto the residual limb by the suction that was created when the air was removed. To remove the prosthetic, the valve is opened and air is introduced into the socket, thus breaking the seal.
Suspension liners come in a variety of forms. Every major prosthetic manufacturer produces a suction type suspension system, which is testament to the popularity of this suspension form. For our purposes, suction suspension systems will be broken down into two categories: those that require a sleeve and those which do not.
The original version of a suction suspension system involves a liner over the residual limb and the use of a sleeve worn over the socket and onto the skin above the prosthetic. The sleeve keeps air from being introduced into the socket, thus keeping the seal that is created when air is pushed through the one way valve.
The main drawback of the original suction suspension system lies with the sleeve. Some amputees complain that the sleeve does not stay in place and rolls down. Holes or tears in the sleeve compromise the integrity of the limb suspension.
The introduction of the seal-in liner in 2004 eliminated the necessity for the sleeve. These liners feature a rubberized gasket. The gasket creates the seal within the socket and suspension takes place further down the residual limb.
The seal-in liner has gained popularity, but it is not an appropriate system for every amputee. Those that have vast volume fluctuations throughout the day may find adding socks is cumbersome and difficult with this liner type. Many manufacturers recommend that the liners only be paired with a maximum of 8 ply.
The practitioners at OPC are experienced with a vast array of suction suspension liners. If you want to discuss these liners or if you feel like this type of system might be appropriate for you, give us a call.