Once an office visit has been scheduled with an orthotist, most people are eager to get through the fitting process and begin using their new support or brace as soon as possible. Unless you happen to be getting a ready-made orthotic device, keep in mind that the process of custom fitting takes a little time. At your first appointment the practitioner will have a detailed discussion with you about your specific situation and how using a support, brace or other orthotic device will fit into your life.
Measurements will be taken and in some cases, it will be necessary to cast the effected area of the body with plaster or another malleable material. Some patient care centers will use Insignia™ three-dimensional laser scanning to electronically capture the dimensions of the effected area. Images that are exact to within one millimeter are stored in a computer and reviewed by the practitioner and patient. Sensitive areas that require pressure relief are identified and the scan is carefully altered to reflect the unique characteristics of each patient. The final modified scan is then sent to Hanger’s central design center and the specifications are fed directly to an automated carver. The result is a precision form that is used to fabricate the actual orthotic brace or support. Insignia is particularly useful for designing ankle/ foot orthosis, spinal jackets and cranial helmets.
At your second appointment you will be able to try out the new support or brace; if you are satisfied with the fit and your orthotist agrees, the process is complete. If modifications are needed, then additional office visits will be necessary. Some orthotic devices are available in more standard models and sizes, which makes the fitting process quicker. Other devices require very precise fitting, and predictably, these will take longer.