Prosthetics and Orthotics
Prosthetics and Orthotics is a medical and engineering based healthcare profession which deals with rehabilitation of physically handicapped individuals who suffer from limb malfunctions or abnormalities or absence or loss of limbs or other body parts. The loss of body parts may have been the result of an accident or mishap or amputation owing to medical conditions like diabetes or gangrene or cancer or in some cases the defect may be congenital i.e people are born with this handicap where a limb / a body part may be missing. Such a condition prevents a person from leading a normal life. There may also be cases where people suffering from conditions like polio or muscular degeneration need an external support for movement and strength to go about their day to day activities. Prosthetists and Orthotists are professionals who help people suffering from neuromotor and musculoskeletal disorders such as the ones mentioned above, to return to a normal life by using their skills and advanced medical technology. In a nutshell, though the fields Prosthetics and Orthotics appear to be autonomous, these professionals usually work as part of multi-skilled teams. Their clientele ranges from small children to adults and elderly population suffering from age-related injuries and illnesses. A Prosthesis, or what is commonly known as an artificial limb is an extension or replacement of a missing or damaged body part. It can be an artificial leg, an entire hand or just the palms of hands or feet etc. Those professionals who deal with prosthesis are called Prosthetists. An Orthosis is a device which can give support to weak limbs or help to correct a deformity. It is derived from the Greek word 'ortho' meaning 'to straighten'. Such devices include braces, splints and special footwear which assist movement and tend to lessen the amount of discomfort. Orthotists are professionals concerned with manufacture and fitting of Orthosis. These professionals need to be highly trained to be able to work competently. In our country there are a number of institutions which train prosthetists and orthotists to enable them to work with a team of orthopaedics, physiatrists and other medical professionals. The Indian Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists is a professional organization formed in 1987. It aims at the development of prosthetic and orthotic field in India to be at par with the international standards. It works towards making people aware of the various orthotic and prosthetic practices and thereby eliminate quackery. It coordinates with the Rehabilitation Council of India, international organizations like the International Society for prosthetics and orthotics, institutions and universities for short-term courses and research. ________________________________________ Eligibility The minimum educational requirement to become a prosthetist and orthotist is a four and half year degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics from a recognised university. After graduation, in order to practice as prosthetist and orthotist in India candidates must register with Rehabilitation Council of India. For admission to four and a half year bachelors' degree course in prosthetics and orthotics the candidates must have cleared 10 + 2 with Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology. While candidates aspiring for a masters' degree in prosthetics and orthotics should have a bachelor's degree in prosthetics and orthotics. Candidates with diploma qualifications are employed as technicians. The diploma courses are usually of two years duration. The eligibility requirement for a diploma course is that the candidates should have passed 10+2 with science subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology) or they should have a pass in 10+2 in the vocational stream in the trade of machinist or 10+2 and ITI certificate in the trade of Fitter/ Turner/ Machinist/ Tool or die maker. Candidates with a pass in the final diploma examinations conducted by the Board of Technical Education of the State Govt. in Mechanical/ Electrical/ or Electronics Engineering are also eligible. For most of the courses the age criteria is that the candidate should have completed 17 years of age in the year of admission. The maximum age is usually 23 years however it may vary according to reservation stipulations as formulated by the government or according to the rules of individual institutions. Selection: The selection of candidates is made on the basis of merit. Those candidates who satisfy the eligibility criteria as regards age and educational qualifications are usually required to take an entrance test for the various courses. The tests usually consist of objective type questions based on subjects - Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, English and GK. The questions are based on Senior Secondary School Certificate (10+2) curriculum. Course Areas : The course is both engineering and medical based. The syllabi includes classes in basic life sciences, basic engineering, prosthetics and orthotics workshop technology, orthopaedics, computer studies, physical medicine and rehabilitation, mobility aid, upper and lower limb prosthetics and orthotics, spinal orthotics. Besides theory classes, candidates are given extensive clinical practice and lab work so as to make them competent and well qualified in this field. Internship: After successful completion of final year examinations, students have to undergo a six month internship which comprises of clinical practice, case presentation and fabrication of different kinds of orthoses and prostheses. Personal Skills: A candidate who intends to join this filed should have good communication, helping and caring skills. He/She should be sensitive and must have fair amount of patience and tolerance. Reliability, honesty and trustworthiness, enthusiasm, dedication and determination are some of the other qualities that a candidate must possess. The candidate should have aptitude for life sciences as well as engineering studies. Besides the candidate should be dexterous and alert.