HomeVA ProstheticsVA Handbook 1173.10 - Orthotic Devices and RepairsDefinitions

10.2. Definitions

a. Orthosis. An orthosis is a device fitted externally to an anatomical portion of the body to influence motion by assisting, resisting, blocking, or unloading part of the body weight. An orthosis may be used to correct deformity, compensate for weakness, or protect a body segment. It includes, but is not limited to custom and non-custom devices, corsets, trusses, and belts.

b. Custom Orthosis. A custom orthosis is made from measurements, tracings, a digitized body segment from a negative impression (cast), or may incorporate a unique design based on specific patient measurements.

c. Prefabricated Orthosis. A prefabricated orthosis (also referred to as an off-the-shelf orthoses) is an orthotic device that is commercially manufactured in quantities for public issue in a limited number of sizes.

d. VA Orthotic and Prosthetic Laboratory. The VA Orthotic and Prosthetic Laboratory is a section within the Prosthetic Service staffed with a Certified Orthotist or non-certified staff under the supervision of a certified practitioner, equipped to provide a range of custom orthotic or custom fitted orthotic devices.

e. Contract Provider. A contract provider refers to an independent business that fabricates and/or fits custom-made orthotic devices, or custom fits prefabricated orthotic devices.

f. Certified Orthotist. A Certified Orthotist is a trained professional that designs, fabricates, and fits custom and non-custom orthoses.

g. Orthotic Fitter. An orthotic fitter is an individual trained to fit non-custom orthotic devices and/or soft goods (i.e., lumbosacral corsets, elastic knee orthoses, ankle and elbow supports).

h. Orthotic Technician. An orthotic technician is an individual trained to fabricate custom orthoses under the supervision of a Certified Orthotist.

i. Orthotic Laboratory Workorder (OWL). An OWL is a work order for custom fabrication and/or repairs made to orthotic devices by an in-house VA Orthotic and Prosthetic Laboratory.


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