Updated: Oct 19
Check out the elephant prosthetic leg we helped design!
Grace Prosthetic Fabrication is a leading provider of prosthetics and orthotics. With over 150 years of combined manufacturing experience, we have created countless devices ranging from above knee to below knee prosthetics to help patients through their rehabilitation journey.
Last year, in 2021, Grace hit a new milestone and had the opportunity to provide an adorable elephant with a prosthetic leg. This wildlife project came with its share of challenges, but it also allowed them to further their mission of giving back to the community. Read on to learn more about how they fabricated their biggest prosthetic yet.
How It Started: The Story of the Elephant with a Prosthetic Leg
Grace’s journey to helping an elephant with a prosthetic leg started in June 2021, when Derek Campana from Bionic Pets shipped over a plaster cast of Khun Dej’s leg for his prosthetic.
Khun Dej was Grace's largest client to date. This adorable Asian elephant was born around 2010 and hailed from central Thailand. In 2014, he got trapped in a snare set designed for catching small animals and was missing for a few days. Unfortunately, his wound had already become infected by the time he was found, so he was taken to a government hospital for treatment.
Later on, Khun Dej was transferred to his new home—the Elephant Nature Park. Unfortunately, while he was appropriately treated and doing well, it became clear that he had developed mobility issues from his injuries. The Bionic Pets team thus determined that Khun Dej would need a new foot.
Derek Campana reached out to Grace Prosthetic Fabrication to assist him and the Gentle Giants Stay Home Project members. Their organization aims to help elephants with unique needs. In this case, their goal was to find Khun Dej a prosthetic leg, so Derek contracted Grace for the job.
Creating Khun Dej’s Prosthetic Leg
Of course, providing an elephant with a prosthetic leg was slightly different, given the device's size.
Grace used over 50 gallons of plaster to create the mold for a start. They began with a one inch BockLite distal pad and later added another inch of BockLite, which required nine sheets of material to provide full padding for Khun Dej's leg. After that, Grace also added a one-inch carbon socket with a t-shirt lamination.
Overall, Grace used eight gallons of resin and over 120 feet of 10-inch carbon braid and did six laminations to complete the device. Given the uniqueness of this prosthetic, they also created a custom jig to fit four 500-lb square plates. The resulting prosthetic leg weighed 64.11 lbs, ready to be sent out to Khun Dej.
Get High-Quality Prosthetics and Orthotics from Grace
Grace Prosthetic Fabrication has been a central fabrication leader for over 30 years, creating high-quality prosthetics and orthotics for all patients.
Whatever prosthetic and orthotic needs you may have, our team is always ready to help you. Give us a call at 1-800-940-5347 to get started.