21 November 2019, Singapore – KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) has established Singapore's only one-stop paediatric orthotic centre dedicated to providing a full range of orthotic services for children with lower limb and spine conditions requiring assistive devices.

An orthosis is an externally-applied assistive device (e.g., a brace or insole) that is used to support the musculoskeletal system and to improve function and mobility.

The new KKH Paediatric Orthotic Centre features an in-house workshop, which is run by prosthetists and orthotists, fully-equipped to create custom orthoses. Since the centre started initial operations in November 2018, the team has seen more than 860 patients, and provided more than 2,000 episodes of care.

Mr Satyaki Sengupta, Deputy Director, Division of Allied Health Specialties, KKH said, “Every patient presents individually and uniquely from each other; even patients with the same condition. As a one-stop hub, we now have the capacity to fabricate, fit, modify and repair a wide range of paediatric orthotic devices, entirely customised in-house and onsite.”

“This strengthens patient care and experience, as we are able to fabricate more custom-fit orthoses in a shorter amount of time, and patients can have their consultation, fitting and adjustments done in one location. Waiting and travelling times are also minimised.”

This consolidation of KKH's paediatric orthotic services will enhance care coordination and integration, and enable closer monitoring of patient outcomes – contributing towards optimal clinical results and quality of life for patients.

At KKH, orthoses are commonly used as part of multidisciplinary treatment for children with chronic, congenital conditions such as scoliosis, cerebral palsy and flat feet, as well as complex deformities.

Most children with these conditions resulting in the need for orthoses would usually be required to start wearing an orthotic device early in life, and continue daily until the age of skeletal maturity at 16 to 18 years old, or even throughout their lifetime.

In complex cases, the orthotist may need to work closely with the different specialists; the orthopaedic surgeon, neurologist, neurosurgeon, physio- and occupational therapists, and nurses to provide customised solutions for the optimal management of the child’s condition.

Throughout the child’s growing years, their condition and outcome would need to be closely monitored. Any adjustments can be made to the fabricated orthosis or new orthoses fabricated and fitted, to accommodate a growing child.

There are also instances where a custom orthosis may be urgently required, such as in the event of a child scheduled to undergo surgery within days.

“The KKH Paediatric Orthotic Centre has greatly enhanced our ability to respond quickly to patients’ individual needs with a minimal turnaround time, and work directly with clinicians, surgeons and therapists on fine-tuning the orthotic support that the patient requires to function optimally at each stage of their life,” shares Mr Sengupta.

“Providing paediatric orthotic services for nearly 20 years, our team has seen a steadily increasing need for paediatric orthoses, due to greater awareness and earlier detection of paediatric conditions. Great benefits lie in early detection and intervention, including better results, functional improvements, and the prevention of the condition worsening in complex cases.

With the establishment of the KKH Paediatric Orthotic Centre, we are well-positioned to continue exploring ways to increase efficiency and capability towards meeting the healthcare needs of children, and advance the development of paediatric orthotic interventions and services in Singapore.”