Silicon & Silicone
Silicon [Si], the 14th element on The Periodic Table of Elements, is the second most abundant element on the Earth’s crust. It can be found in the forms of sand and quartz. Once extracted, silicon is synthesized in a lab with other constituents and silicone, the polymer is born.
Essentially modified glass, silicone is not just any polymer, but considered the missing link between organic and inorganic chemistry.
Silicone…An Element of Design
As silicone specialists, 14th Element Fabrication seemed to be the perfect name. As a prosthetics material, silicone has some clear mechanical and chemical advantages over traditional thermoplastics. The use of silicone in medicine is well documented and utilized in wound management, implants and instrumentation.
Benefits of Silicone
- Biocompatible (silicone elicits no immune response)
- Hygienic (does not support bacterial growth)
- Supports skin healing and scar treatment
- Shown to increase suspension
- Shown to increase range of motion
- Extremely temperature stable (-70° C to 250° C)
- High elasticity and compressibility
- Increased comfort & prosthesis “wear time”
- Limitless customization (e.g. integrated multiple durometers, colors, wire channels, straps, custom art, embedded components, etc.)
Sockets & Liners
What types of silicone does 14ELMT use?
Rolled: (HTV silicone) provides the structure
Injected: (RTV silicone) provides the cushion
Combination: Includes both rolled and injected silicone
Both rolled (HTV) and injected (RTV) silicone come in a range of hardnesses called durometer. A single silicone prosthesis can have multiple durometers so that a combination of structure and cushion can be achieved.
Silicone allows us to create an anatomically contoured prosthesis that can have both the structure AND the cushion needed for unsurpassed comfort.
When to Choose Silicone?
Once the limb is volumetrically stable, a patient can be fitted with a silicone socket or liner. While silicone can increase comfort and function for all prosthetic users, it is also the ideal solution for users with challenging limb conditions such as:
- Limb sensitivity
- Increased range of motion
- Bony prominences
- Bulbous limb presentation
- Bilateral (heavy users)
While silicone itself is inert and will not elicit an immune response or support microbiological growth; dirt, oils and bodily fluids that collect on the surface of a silicone prosthetic can support bacteria. To avoid this, regular cleaning and maintenance of the prosthesis is key.
Silicone can be scrubbed with a soft bristled brush, such as a nail brush with warm-hot water and mild dish soap. Use a back and forth circular motion to remove debris. If scrubbing is not possible an alcohol wipe can be used to clean the inside of the silicone socket.
CAUTION! Electrodes should NEVER be submerged in water. Doing so may damage your prosthesis.
RASHES & SKIN IRRITATION
Should a skin rash develop, try cleaning the socket and/or switching donning fluid or powder.