First robotic limb available in Mid-Michigan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

First robotic limb available in Mid-Michigan

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(10/10/12) - A Flint man is walking better than he has in years thanks to a new, "bionic" leg. It is technology that is expected to change a lot of lives in Mid-Michigan, and around the world!

Three years ago, Phil Forster lost part of his leg in a motorcycle accident. He has been wearing an artificial limb ever since. But, today he got a the BiOM, which runs on a battery operated motor, from Bremer Prosthetic Design in Flint.

"The foot I had before had no motion on it, it was like walking on a board or something, it was really stiff. But, this here is just about like a real foot, walking on it," Phil says.

What makes this new leg so different is not just that it is the first ever "powered" prosthetic, but the fact that it uses robotics that function like the muscles and tendons in a real ankle.

"The normal ankle has 24 degrees range of motion, and so does this foot. So it's the closest to restoring the actual function of an ankle that's been lost due to traumatic accident that's available," says Nathan Kapa, CP, of Bremer Prosthetic.

The improved range of motion will make it possible for Phil to do the things he loves even better than he was able to with his old prosthetic.

Phil says it has another important benefit. "I've been having a lot of back and hip pain and I noticed that this helped it out immediately."

The specialized batteries for the BiOM are included. Phil got three that he will have to charge throughout the day. Depending on a person's activity level, the battery will last two to five hours.

"That is probably one of the bigger drawbacks of the technology is that he has to change the batteries," Nathan Kapa says.

Should a battery die, the limb will still work, but the ankle will not have it's full range of motion.

The need for prosthetics is increasing. That has a lot to do with the increase in Diabetes, which is the number one reason for amputations.

Not every insurance company covers the robotic prosthetic.

Bremer Prosthetic Design, Inc. has locations in Flint and Saginaw. For more information, visit their site: http://www.bremerprosthetics.com

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