By Gemma Long
Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics (CPO) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Having opened its first practice in Peoria in 2005 the business has grown to over 30 locations throughout Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Indiana, including its Springfield office, which opened in 2011.
Each year in the U.S., 65,000 amputations are performed. The circumstances for each amputee can vary greatly, but may be the result of vascular diseases, trauma, cancer or diabetes.
Romel Bhanti is vice-president of Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics and manages the Springfield clinic — Joseph Fredrickson, Edward Wells, and Jason Bruning join him. Don Goertzen, who is president and co-founder of Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotis and an amputee himself, attends the clinic once a week to see patients.
Mr. Bhanti said that as the business is constantly growing so has the understanding of its patient’s requirements.
“We have matured and are now better able to see things from a patient’s perspective. We are constantly growing with acquisitions in and outside of the state including Missouri, Indiana, and Iowa. We are here to stay and we want to contribute in a positive way towards the many communities in which we operate.”
According to the National Limb Loss Information Center, in the U.S. there are approximately 1.7 million people living with limb loss. It is estimated that one out of every 200 people in the US has had an amputation.
Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics’ experienced team evaluates each patient’s unique situation in order to provide the most effective and beneficial prosthetic device.
Prosthetics and orthotics devices have changed greatly over the past 10 years said Mr. Bhanti.
“The technology has advanced a lot and prosthetics has evolved from being all mechanical to mechanical computerized,” he said.
“There are a lot of new materials that were not available five years ago. The interaction between human nerves and muscles has also evolved so we are seeing great results from that.”
“We are seeing better and better outcomes; more and more people are able to walk. Another thing we’re doing is changing the whole way we prevent amputation through wound care management. We have come a long way because there are greater offloading options. A lot of what we’re doing with crow walkers and braces reduces the pressure on the wound and allows it to heal, which reduces the chances of amputation. There’s been a lot of debate, which is ongoing, about salvaging limbs versus amputation — and when you decide to amputate.”
Mr. Bhanti said the decision to amputate is based on the quality of life a patient should expect either way.
“For a patient managing a severe wound he or she may choose going down the route of amputation. This decision is something we work on with our patients — we also work closely with our patients’ doctors and surgeons.”
Age is a large factor in the decision process when it comes to the question over whether or not to amputate.
“When we see a younger patient in their 30s to 40s who has a wound that won’t heal or deformity that doesn’t allow them to lead the life they want, then the surgical option to amputate may be the better option, especially as prosthetics are so much lighter, so much better, and have come so far in recent years.”
Mr. Bhanti said the types of prosthesis worn by a patient depend on their level of activity.
“Not only does it depend on the patient’s age, but also on their activity levels and the patient’s willingness to undergo therapy to get better. We’re going to give them a prosthesis that does the majority of things for them, but running and playing certain sports will require different components.”
Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics has also experienced significant changes in insurance over the past decade; it’s not just been about changes in patient health care.
“We’ve done a great deal to increase our understanding of how insurance has changed the way we operate — having had to make cuts in some areas in recent years — but we have always made sure that we have not reduced the quality of care.”
Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics was the first in Illinois to trial the Ossur Power Knee, which mimics lost proprioception and muscle function by providing powered extension and heel rise. In addition, compared with other prosthetics, it’s sleeker, quieter, easy to fit, and has improved battery technology. Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics also works with a company called Ottobock, which offers a range of innovative products.
“Sometimes it’s been hard — we’ve had to wait if we really wanted to do something because 10 years ago, when we started the practice, we didn‘t have the technology; it simply wasn’t available,” said Mr. Bhanti.
America had always been the leading country in terms of research and development.
“Everything starts here somehow; America was built on technology.” For Mr. Bhanti and his team advances in technology, or more importantly the research that supports such advances, is the future for Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics.
“We want to develop a whole lot of viable technology instead of something that’s already out there,” he said. “Springfield is a medical hub thanks to its geographical location within the state of Illinois, but mostly because it’s one of the oldest cities in the state and has always had hospitals — we take care of people from a lot of smaller and rural communities, which makes it a great place to carry out trials.”
Peoria will remain the headquarters for Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics with the relationships growing in Springfield; the company has opportunities to create more research studies in the future.
“Thanks to advances in technology we are able to offer different prosthetics for different needs. For example a computerized knee can adapt better according to speed and terrain than a mechanical knee. However, we always work hard to find out what works best for the patient and that doesn‘t always mean it’s what is best out there at the time,” said Mr. Bhanti.
As part of its 10-year anniversary celebrations Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics hosted a seminar on Friday, March 20th, for industry practitioners in the state of Illinois. The speaker, Mark Edwards, is a leader in the field of prosthetics and the director of professional and clinical services at Ottobock Healthcare. He is the former director for prosthetics education at The Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.
In June, Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics will host its second prosthetics symposium at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Springfield, with speakers from across the country for physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and nurses. For more information about Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics symposium in June visit www.cpousa.com.
For more information on Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics’ services and locations, visit the website at www.cpousa.com or call 217-717-9221. The Springfield clinic is located at 2025 W. Iles, Ste B, 62704 and is open between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
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