As an amputee, I know firsthand the link between a perfect fitting and functioning prosthesis and the ability to lead a normal lifestyle. As a prosthetist, one of the biggest joys of my profession is helping amputees restore their vitality.

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with patient Judy Berhow. Hers is a story that illustrates well why I am so passionate about this profession.

As a result of vascular problems, Judy’s right leg was amputated. Prior to coming to Premier Prosthetic Center, she tried a couple of different prostheses from other providers, but wasn’t able to wear either one more than 15 minutes because they caused too much pain. She ended up spending six years in a wheelchair because that was easier than wearing the ill-fitting prostheses.

After visiting our office at the recommendation of a friend and hearing about the Rheo 2 prosthesis, Judy decided to try it out. On the first day after fitting, she walked out of our office with the help of a cane. Now, she is able to walk with greater confidence and has regained her independence. She says she enjoys being able to go shopping and visit people by herself.

The technology utilized in the Rheo 2 prosthesis is remarkable. The device uses an artificially-intelligent knee system with sensors that analyze the knee 1,000 times per second. It is programmed to know what its user is doing – things like whether they’re on uneven terrain, walking fast or walking slow or going up or down a hill – and is able to adjust accordingly, unlike less sophisticated limbs. This improves the user’s stability and helps prevent falls.

The Rheo 2 also allows me to make any needed adjustments through a Bluetooth connection between my PDA and Judy’s bionic leg.

It’s an impressive system that is making life better for many amputees, just as it has for Judy.

Watch Judy’s story as featured on WATE-TV: