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Northfield Center -- There may be more highly skilled health-care technicians hard at work on prosthetic limbs than is commonly known.
One such provider is Akron-based Yanke Bionics, a regional provider of prosthetic and orthotic devices with more than a dozen offices throughout north and central Ohio. The firm's Northfield Center office, which opened at the end of July, is managed by clinician Mark Clary.
Clary is one of three clinicians who work in the Northfield Center office. In addition to specializing in orthotic devices, such as specialized shoes and braces, he is the office's only prosthetic specialist and also cares for patients with artificial limbs.
He said most of the company's clients are referred by physicians, and most bills are paid through insurance. He said prosthetic costs can range from $3,500 for below-the-knee artificial limbs, to around $50,000 for the most advanced, computer-enhanced, full-leg prosthetics that store and reuse the energy of a person's stride.
Clary said the office's primary function on initial consultation is to take measurements and sometimes create castings of the patient's limb so a well-fitting device can be manufactured at Yanke's main lab in Akron. The office also assists with adjustments and physical therapy, which means many patients return on a regular basis for extended treatment.
He said needs vary, depending on the patient.
While many patients need shoes, braces and other such orthotic devices, others require replacement limbs.
"We see some young people who may have lost a leg due to cancer or a motorcycle accident, and we may see a 75-year-old who lost a leg to diabetes and just wants to move from room to room," he said.
Clary estimates he sees two to three amputees per day, though many are long-term, returning clients.
"You build a relationship with them," he said. "I love people and building things -- this business is all about hands, head and heart."
Yanke Bionics' Northfield Center office is at 61 W. Aurora Road, across from the fire station. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. See www.yankebionics.com, or call 330-467-0001 for more information.
Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433