Spotlight: Premier Prosthetics & Orthotics
Certified prosthetists Greg Doerr and Manny Rivera co-funded Premier Prosthetics and Orthotics with a vision to do what they know best—take care of their patients and have a direct impact on their quality of life by providing the highest level of convenience and care. Premier Prosthetics and Orthotics has continued to further this vision since opening its doors in 2009, changing the lives of patients like John Becker.
Retired St. Louis Public Schools teacher John Becker had his leg amputated below the knee in 2003 due to complications from diabetes. Following the amputation, he developed a wound on the bottom of his residual limb that didn’t heal for several years. He visited his surgeon every few months to monitor the amputation site and treat the infection. The surgeon considered performing a revised amputation above the knee, but first he suggested that Becker see Manny Rivera at Premier Prosthetics.
“I asked my doctor if he was willing to let me try an elevated vacuum socket prosthesis, and it worked,” Becker says. It involves an actual vacuum attached to the prosthetic limb that allows for better connection, pulling the prosthesis and limb together with a pumping motion, which also helps improve circulation in the leg.
“The interface creates a better link so the prosthesis feels like it’s part of John’s body,” Rivera says. “He originally used a pin locking system that pulled on the leg constantly and contributed to his wound and pain.” Within months after receiving his new prosthesis, Becker’s wound completely healed, leaving him much more comfortable and mobile. “As soon as they put my new prosthesis on, I could feel a difference,” he notes. “Before, it hurt just to do simple things like sitting in a car. But the new prosthesis eliminated all that pain. It was like day and night for me.”
Becker continues to see Rivera regularly to check on his prosthesis, and Rivera makes house calls when needed because of Becker’s vision problems and other diabetic complications. “He’s very good,” Becker says of Rivera. “He can just look at my leg and tell right away what’s going on with it.”
Becker has experienced some physical limitations because of his diabetes. However, his current prosthesis allows for painless mobility and activity. Becker once was a regular athlete and is a huge fan of the Saint Louis University Billikens basketball team. He can now enjoy going to the games pain-free. He adds that avoiding another amputation surgery was a tremendous blessing and relief for him. According to Rivera, it takes 46 percent more energy to use an above-the-knee prosthesis than a below-the-knee one, so Becker can maintain his mobility more efficiently with his below-the-knee prosthesis.
Rivera wants people to know that Premier Prosthetics and Orthotics is dedicated to finding the best, most comfortable solution for everyone the company serves. “There are prosthetics for every patient’s needs,” he says. “Because of advances in technology, they can get out and enjoy doing what they want to do.”
343 S. Kirkwood Road, Ste. 200 • 314.262.8900 • premierpando.com
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