Orthotic and Prosthetic Unit

Clinical services

  • Orthotics

    An Orthosis (plural orthoses) is the correct term for a splint, brace or appliance that is designed and fitted to the body to achieve one or more of the following goals:

    • Control alignment (often with the aim of preventing a deformity occurring).
    • Increase mobility.
    • Increase independence.
    • Protect and support a healing injury or recent surgery.
    • Assist rehabilitation.
    • Reduce pain.

    An Orthotist/Prosthetist is a qualified Allied Health professional who assesses, designs and provides orthoses to meet each child's individual needs.

    Orthotists work together with Medical Staff and other Allied Health Professionals to determine the correct orthotic prescription for each individual child.

    Children wearing orthoses require follow-up appointments to maintain the orthosis and ensure that it is fitting correctly and functioning effectively as they grow and physical activity levels change.

    Custom orthotics

    If an Orthosis is custom made, a series of steps are followed.  These may include:

    • An assessment of the child to determine the most appropriate treatment
    • Taking a cast, scan or measurements of the part of the body to be braced
    • Fabrication of the orthosis to the specifications determined in the prescription & assessment
    • Fitting of the orthosis to the child
    • Regular reviews for growth 

    This process can take between three days to four weeks. We take into account the pathology, type of orthoses and current treatment interventions to ensure all children are treated in a  timely manner.

    Types of custom made orthoses include

    • ankle foot orthoses (AFO)
    • knee ankle foot orthotic (KAFO)
    • 3 point knee and elbow orthoses
    • corrective spinal orthoses including Milwaukee and Boston braces 
    • fracture bracing 
    • plagiocephaly and brachycephaly corrective helmets

    Pre-fabricated orthotics

    Some orthoses are pre-fabricated and come in standard sizes which may require slight adjustment to fit the patient.

    This process is usually completed on the same day as your appointment.

    Types of pre-fabricated orthoses include

    • Congenital Talipes Equino Varus (CTEV) orthoses including Dennis Brown Boots and Bar
    • Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) orthoses including Pavlik Harnesses, Dennis Brown Bars (DB Bar) and 'Hippo' orthoses
    • Hinged knee braces
    • Soft protective helmets

    Prosthetics

    A prosthesis or artificial limb (plural: prostheses) is a replacement for an absent part of the body.

    This department supplies protheses to children who have congenital limb deficiencies or who have lost a limb from trauma or disease. Prosthetic care is provided to children in Victoria, Tasmania and southern NSW with a valid referral through the Limb Deficiency Clinic, co-ordinated by the RCH Orthopaedics Department.

    Visit the limb deficiency site

    The Orthotics and Prosthetics Unit is the primary center for paediatric myoelectric prostheses provision in Victoria, called the Externally Powered Prosthetic (Myoelectric) Program. This elective service requires an initial contribution toward the cost of components that make up the prosthesis. Through this program a child is provided with a myoelectrically controlled prosthesis from the time they join the program until their eighteenth birthday.

    Care for patients requiring lower limb prostheses is coordinated though RCH and delivered on site or by other facililties within Victoria.