What is the EMS multi-surface flexible inner socket?
EMS stands for Environmentally Managed Systems. It’s an inner flexible socket designed as an addition to existing prosthetic systems for the purpose of improving them.
The limb, the prosthetic, and its attachment method, these three form an ecosystem that if not managed correctly, it will negatively affect both an amputee’s limb health, and their quality of life.
There are many benefits to the patented and proven EMS multi-surface flexible inner socket.
- Improved limb health
- Strengthened connection to the prosthesis
- Increased control of the prosthetic leg
- Heightened spacial awareness
- Reduced moisture buildup
An amputated limb inevitably comes with impaired sensation. This causes an amputee to be more susceptible to the development of issues. With a prosthetic ecosystem potentially comprising of pressure, moisture, friction, and restraining devices (vacuum, suction, pin system), the balance of these attributes determines the amputee’s quality of life. Lose that balance, and an amputee can expect to develop sores, ulcers, skin breakdown, and tissue/muscle atrophy which can lead to infections, or even more surgery.
There are several key features unique to the EMS multi-surface flexible inner socket which contribute to the benefits described above.
The EMS is neither a volume or pressure-based socket. The patented surface both inside and outside of our socket increases the contact area by 100%, which increases the co-efficiency of friction up to 400% between it and the liner. This leads to improved suspension and control, compared to conventional smooth-walled inner sockets.
This increase of friction also results in a strengthened connection to the prosthesis. Additionally, the patented design reduces the movement, elongation, and thinning of the liner during weight bearing that, in a conventional smooth-walled flexible inner socket, may cause the residual limb to slide down into the definitive socket; such a situation can cause a girdling or tourniquet condition which has been known to result in tissue and muscle atrophy, due to reduced blood and fluid flow. Other skin conditions can also arise due to the liner moving or losing contact to the limb.
Preventing these conditions is critical to maintaining an amputee’s long-term limb health and on-going prosthesis use. Additionally, volume reduction due to atrophy can cause discomfort and potential harm to the amputee, and in some cases even lead to costly definitive socket re-fabrication.
The flexible supracondylar upper area of the EMS conforms to the limb granting stability without rigidity, allowing for lower trim lines on the ridged socket; this reduces stress on the sealing sleeve while not restricting the amputee’s range of motion.
The unique, patented, flexible distal end chamber provides and ‘air cushion’ allowing for some distal movement between the EMS and the definitive outer socket, while maintaining total contact to minimize distal pressure to the limb during weight bearing.
Each EMS is custom made to fit each amputee’s specific shape by using a cast of their residual limb, taken over their liner of choice. After NETTwork receives the cast, we pour the positive which is then scanned and transformed into a 3-Dimensional model that is accurate to thousandths of an inch. This intimacy guarantees, out of the gate, a superior product to one that is merely hand measured.
Other socket systems are non-dynamic, meaning they are unable to accommodate volume changes that will occur naturally throughout the day. As they all utilize both compression and pressure to maintain connection to hold the prosthetic in place, volume changes are increased.
The EMS avoids that by using friction in combination with flexible load distribution. This allows the patient to maintain volume. Combined with its other features, the EMS allows amputees a more consistent, comfortable, confident connection.
With an inferior system, something as simple as sitting can be uncomfortable for an amputee. The balancing of fluid changes within tissue, moisture accumulation around the skin, while accommodating for muscle movement, the EMS can provide freedoms that other systems may not be able to.
ENVIRONMENTALLY MANAGED SYSTEMS
Carl Caspers, EMS inventor and amputee himself, approached Aaron J. Netter, founder and CEO of NETTwork Manufacturing in late 2010 with a concept and vision for a ‘multi-surfaced flexible inner socket’. Carl’s years of experience in prosthetic limb design, and his never-ending quest to develop the perfect socket that would give amputees a better quality of life than conventional socket systems inspired Aaron and NETTwork Manufacturing. Aaron being a veteran and having compassion for his fellow veterans with disabilities, is the other main driving force that combined with Carl’s experience and passion to propel this quest forward.
Aaron assembled his experienced manufacturing team and gave them the challenge to both locate materials and develop processes that would be capable of producing the first revolutionary new socket with Carl’s guidance. In mid-2011, our first EMS ‘multi-surfaced flexible inner socket’ was delivered to the customer where it was an instant success; a success that did not come without much trial and error during the development process.
Since 2011, we have delivered the EMS ‘multi-surfaced flexible inner socket’ around the world. In 2020, NETTwork acquired the EMS patents from Carl. We plan to expand the marketing, manufacturing, and development needed to give as many amputees as possible the opportunity to use this amazing technology that can give them the quality of life they deserve.
Click below to learn more about Carl Caspers.