Handcrafted Prostheses - Wacker Chemie AG


Handcrafted Prostheses

Then, an employee mounts the silicone slabs by hand on the individual stump model.

Never misses a competition

Ottobock achieved global prominence in 1988 when it became the main sponsor of the Paralympics. An international team of orthopedic technicians accompanies all competitions and offers the athletes technical support. It also conducts the necessary repairs to prostheses, orthoses and wheelchairs. Founded in Berlin after the First World War, the company mainly looked after war invalids initially. Nowadays, it focuses on patients who have had amputations due to accidents or illnesses such as adult-onset diabetes. The company now produces about 10,000 silicone liners, 150 hands and 120 feet each year. The patients are extremely appreciative of all the manual labor involved, and are repeat customers. For, no matter how realistic the prostheses may seem, they do not grow with the body and not even the toughest silicone can cope with the daily rigors endured by a hand or foot for longer than three to five years. Since the silicone wears down over time, like an eraser, the liners of prosthetic shafts must also be replaced after six to twelve months.

“Our silicones improve the lives of people whom fate has dealt a cruel hand and whose daily lives are often severely curtailed.”

Dr. Andreas Bacher Technical Service Manager, WACKER Silicones

For WACKER chemist Bacher, collaborating with the prosthetics craftsmen at Ottobock is always an uplifting experience. “Our silicones improve the lives of people whom fate has dealt a cruel hand and whose daily lives are often severely curtailed,” he says. It never fails to please him, he adds, that silicone prostheses can enhance their quality of life.