Guest Author - Jeanetta Polenske
Ever heard of a prosthetic fairing? A fairing is a cover that is attached around a prosthetic leg. Huh? Letís start at the beginning.
In 2009, an orthopedic surgeon saw the need for prosthetic legs to look more natural while giving his patients some individuality. He started a company, Bespoke, with an industrial designer and they opened their first office in San Francisco.
The process of design is unique and ingenious. They use state-of-the-art technology to scan both the natural and prosthetic legs. The shape and size of the natural leg is superimposed over the prosthetic and a fairing is designed. For a double amputee, they can use someone whose legs are of comparable size and measurements. Above-the-knee fairings are also available. After the legs are scanned, a template is then printed and made ready for the final design.
Bespoke offers several materials like chrome, polymers, nylon fiber and leather. Choose your material, color and design. Do you want a tattoo, a different color on the front and back pieces or openwork? They can do it. In fact, they want you to choose your own statement, something that shows your individuality.
The fairings are easy to attach, durable and lightweight. The materials used determine the weight, which can be anywhere from 7-16 ounces. Fairings can be changed at anytime to reflect your lifestyle. Wear black and orange for soccer, polished metal for evening. The polymers can be washed in the dishwasher, the chrome can be polished with metal polish and the leather can be cleaned with leather cleaner.
It is important that you have worn a prosthetic long enough to be comfortable with it. All parts of the prosthetic including socket and hardware should be stable. The designs fit best if all protruding parts face to the back. Bespoke does not manufacture or fit prosthetics. The fairing is designed to custom fit over your current prosthetic.
The company offers a one-year limited warranty for any defects in the product as a result of manufacturing. The warranty covers conditions of normal wear only.
The cost ranges from $4,000-$6,000. Currently there is no coverage by insurance, but they anticipate working with prostheticists through their insurance plans for future approval.
The fairings do not replicate natural legs. However, they do balance out the shape of the legs and give the illusion of a natural look. They are interesting coverings that are bound to draw attention as they are both fashionable and uncommon. Those who are wearing them state that they have more confidence and feel more relaxed about their prosthetics. I have to say that they just look great.