"With a thin red laser line you definitely have the perfect secret alignment weapon in your hands."

There are many assistive devices and tools available to a prosthetist. Some are very good and some well - mumbo jumbo.

The Otto Bock L.A.S.A.R (Laser Assisted Static Alignment Reference) is a device used to visualise the position of the body's centre of gravity, thereby accurately determining the patient's weight bearing line by showing you the force distribution measured from below the patient's prosthetic foot.

In laymen's terms it shows you if the leg that you built is correctly aligned with components used and with the patient's body alignment, or not.

This measurement (weight bearing line) CANNOT BE SEEN with the naked eye, it has to be measured.It is displayed via a red laser line.

This type of assessment effectively determines leg length discrepancies. By marking the patient's spine and letting them stand on the force sensing platform, the projected laser line points out any deviation of the spine in relation to normal body posture. Wedges can be placed under the sound and prosthetic foot and components can be adjusted until perfection is achieved.

A balancing act

In addition, this device also measures the actual individual weight of the patient's prosthetic side, as well as on the sound side telling exactly if equal weight bearing is achieved by both. Furthermore, it tells you if the prosthetic socket has the correct flexion/extension, medial/lateral tilt and if it is placed in the correct position above the components.

Correct alignment of lower limb prostheses is crucial to them functioning effectively as it reduces the stresses placed on the body that limits mobility and optimizes the individual components effectiveness. The information this apparatus gives the prosthetist is truly amazing.

With a thin red laser line you definitely have the perfect secret alignment weapon in your hands.

In conclusion, if good posture, mobility and proper function are not important to you -L.A.S.A.R posture isn't for you.

ISPO SA tour group to attend World Congress in India

Twenty one members of the South African Orthotic & Prosthetic profession will travel to Hyderabad, India, next year to attend the ISPO World Congress. The group will travel under the banner of the national member society, ISPO South Africa, led by chairman Mike Barkley. They will leave on the 2nd of February and attend the four day Congress from 4th to 7th February, before taking in the sights of India on a four day, three city tour. The group will arrive back on 11th February.

Over 2400 delegates from all spheres of the health rehabilitation sectors will converge on Hyderabad for what promises to be an absorbing and interesting Congress. Keen to join the group? Contact the ISPO SA administrator at: saopa@telkomsa.net.

Unity talks within profession result in the formation of SAFOP:

The new South African Federation of Orthotists & Prosthetists, SAFOP, was recently founded, with the joint chairpersons being Allan Oates (SAOPA) and Piet Moopa (MOPASA).

Work has now started on the drafting of a constitution and the finalization of a logo and all the other necessary procedures. Both SAOPA and MOPASA will retain their own identities and structures, but will work together in the new umbrella body which will become the voice for all O&P matters.

Senior O&P retires after 38 years dedicated service to the profession:

Johan Rossouw has decided to retire from the profession at the end of February, 2013, after 38 years of dedicated service. Johan completed his training in 1978 at the Orthotic and Prosthetic Centre at the Red Cross hospital. Initially he was in charge of the Spinal and Scoliosis clinic at Tygerberg and local hospitals. He was later promoted to Principal O&P and placed in charge of the whole Western Cape rural clinics, which stretched from Springbok, Beaufort West, Oudtshoorn, George and Knysna. He ran these clinics with distinction and is still remembered by many of the nursing staff and doctors at these clinics.

In 1994 he resigned from the O&P centre and joined Orthocare, where he has run the Somerset West branch for the past approximately 20 years. Johan will retire to his holiday house at Betty's Bay where he will pursue his hobbies. These hobbies include fishing, making beautiful handmade hunting and folding knives and restoring antique furniture. He is also a keen hunter and clay pigeon shot. Johan will be seriously missed by all of Orthocare, both for his technical expertise and keen sense of humour.

Paul Hepburn wishes Johan all of the best for his future and is happy that he will not be totally lost to the profession, as Johan is willing to fill in locum positions where required. This will be an asset to any O&P practice, as Johan will bring a vast amount of experience to those who wish to utilize him in a locum position. SAOPA certainly extends their best wishes to Johan and we wish him many happy years of healthy and active retirement.

In Memorium

It is with great sadness that we advise you of the passing of Mark John Hancock, one of the pioneers of our profession in South Africa. He passed away in his sleep on 30th October, aged 72.

Mark was a leading Medical Orthotist-Prosthetist and he was co-owner of Orthopaedic Suppliers in Johannesburg, from 1967 to 1969. He opened a private practice in Durban in 1972 where he practiced for 32 years before retiring from the profession in1996.

During his illustrious and pioneering career, Mark's passion for Orthotics and Prosthetics resulted in many highlights:

He introduced the brand OSSUR to the SA Orthotic and Prosthetic market in 1992.

He convened the annual Congress in Durban in 1988 and again in 1993 (Elangeni).

He was a former President of the AOPPP and OPASA simultaneously.

He was the recipient of THE JACK BALL AWARD in 1990.

Amongst many things, Mark was actively involved in the development of the Orthotic and Prosthetic profession, raising the bar in the standard of the annual Congresses.

He strived for service excellence and was known for his ability to deliver custom moulded spinal braces on the same day as casted.

Mark was a committed Christian with a great passion for people, and after retiring he settled in the Hout Bay area of Cape Town.

Mark's stepson is Garth Campbell, a SAOPA member based in Westville, Durban.

SAOPA extends its deepest condolences to his wife Marian and her family and grandchildren. We also extend our condolences to Garth and his family.