Preliminary Experiences in Applying Silicone Suction Socket (3S) Prostheses to Upper-Extremity Amputees


The silicone suction socket technology (3S system) incorporates two components. One component is a reinforced but flexible silicone socket which "rolls" onto the limb creating a "suction-like" fit. The second is a rigid, traditionally laminated prosthesis designed to mate with the external surface of the silicone socket. The laminated section incorporates the wrist hardware for prehensor mounting. The two components are equipped with an interlocking mechanism so that the rigid one can be quickly disconnected.

The 3S system was developed initially for application to below-knee amputees and has been successfully used by these patients. Advantages of the system include increased comfort due to the itimate fit of the silicone socket to the anatomical limb. This fit eliminates typical prosthetic "pistoning" and is reported to minimize or eliminate perspiration because the typical air layer between the limb surface and the socket wall is non-existant.

Fabrication of the 3S prosthetic system parallels contemporary prosthetic arm manufacturing with minimal changes, such as the 3S liner and the shuttle lock which create a more positive attachment to the residual limb. The 3S system for children can be cost effective because the exterior rigid component has the potential to be reused when the inner silicone socket is refabricated to accommodate growth.

The application of the 3S system in our experience has been beneficial for both adults and children. Results indicate excellent potential for this technology. We encourage further investigation of this system to determine its long term reliability and success.

Childrens Hospital, 1056 East 19th Street, Denver, CO 80218