Looking Back

Orthocast Orthotics and Prosthetics was established by Rowan Berkowitz in 1991 as a Private Orthotic and Prosthetic practice, in Johannesburg.

The practice was initially based at Carstenhof Clinic in Midrand. In 1992, Sunninghill Hospital opened its doors, and the practice was invited to take rooms in the clinic.

In 1994 Gavin Shnier joined the practice and we expanded our services to Olivedale Clinic in Randburg. Morningside and Sandton Medi-Clinic’s were being serviced from the other 2 facilities.

In 1998 we were once again invited to expand the practice to Sandton Medi-Clinic, and both Gavin and Rowan relocated to Sandton Medi-Clinic.

A fully equipped manufacturing facility was opened in Bryanston, where  custom made orthotic and prosthetic appliances were manufactured by a team of qualified Orthotist-Prosthetists, assisted by several workshop technicians.

In 2003, Morningside Medi-Clinic invited us to take rooms and conduct practice from the Sports Medicine Centre based in the clinic.

This brought the practice compliment to 6 qualified Orthotist-Prosthetists in the practice, based at the 4 facilities, making Orthocast Global the largest private practice in the country.

Moving Forward

Due to the highly complex and specialised nature of several of the conditions we deal with, Rowan and Gavin opened a separate specialised practice in Bryanston to deal specifically with:

  • Scoliosis and other spinal deformities management.
  • Conservative management of chest deformities such as Pectus Carinatum (pigeon chest).
  • Mobility and splinting solutions for Cerebral Palsy children.
  • Dynamic Lycra soft-suit bracing for Cerebral Palsy children.
  • Brace management of Congenital Club foot and other lower limb deformities.
  • Specialised prosthetic solutions for paediatrics, and high activity / extreme sport amputees, incorporating the very latest micro-processor limb technology from Germany and USA.
  • Specialised foot pressure mapping and biomechanical gait analysis and diagnostics for custom made foot orthotics for kiddies, adults, sportsmen , and special needs patients, using state-of-the-art digital scanning and CAD-CAM manufacturing of orthotic innersoles.

Both Rowan and Gavin have studied and trained extensively in the USA, Europe and the UK, in their particular fields of interest, and constantly update their knowledge and skills through attending international conferences, training seminars and courses in the field of O&P.  Both Gavin and Rowan have authored/co-authored scientific, peer reviewed papers which have been published in local and international medical journals, and have given countless presentations at scientific meetings both locally and abroad.  We have also both lectured to final year medical and orthopaedic surgery students, in our particular fields of interest.

In 2009 Berkowitz Shnier Inc.was established as a specialist Orthotic and Prosthetic practice dedicated to special fields of interest in Orthotics and Prosthetics. Based on our 25 years in private practice, working with many of South Africa’s top Orthopaedic, Paediatric and Neurology specialists as well as leading therapists we have amassed a vast amount of experience and expertise in our chosen fields of interest, we are able to give our patients the very best Orthotic and Prosthetic advice and services. We regularly attend and participate in international meetings and conferences in order to stay at the leading edge of our profession. We have been invited to present scientific papers at conferences and give lectures to both medical students as well as specialists in the fields of orthopaedics and neurology. We have hosted many seminars where we have introduced the latest techniques and technology to the field of Orthotics and Prosthetics.

We have invested many thousands of Rands in upgrading our equipment and facilities, and are proud to have been acknowledged by industry leaders both locally and internationally for our high standards and expertise.  We have partnered with leading international industry leaders such as Otto Bock, Germany, Ortholutions , Germany, Pectus Services, USA, MD Orthopaedics , USA, Spinal Technology , USA, Boston Brace Company, USA to name a few.

We strive to be the best in our profession, and are dedicated to providing our patients with cutting edge Orthotic and Prosthetic intervention methods and assistive devices.

We cannot always change the way things are, but will continuously strive to make a difference.

We ARE outcomes driven!

Gavin qualified in 1994, he then spent an extensive period of time traveling and training internationally at various renowned centres. Upon his return he joined Rowan as a partner in private practice. In 2005 he completed his BTech in Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics (cum laude) at Tshwane University of Technology. In 2009, together they opened Berkowitz Shnier Inc. and specialised in his treatment of paediatric special needs patients’ and prosthetics.
 
Myo-electronic, paediatric and lower limb prosthetics are his key treatment areas. He remains passionate about traveling abroad to stay up to date with the newest technology and products that are available to enhance patient care. As a registered SAOPA, ACPOC and ISPO member Gavin has an abundance of research and academic knowledge to support his treatment modalities. He has gained a reputation for working with difficult patients’ and does not shy away from treating challenging patients’ that have been referred to him by colleagues. 
 
He works closely with paediatric orthopaedic surgeons and neurologists as part of an MDT that have collectively achieved optimum treatment outcomes over the past 18 years. 
Rowan qualified as and Orthotist-Prosthetist in 1988 and served an intern year at Mervyn Lieberthal & Associates. After completing the internship year, Rowan registered with the S.A.Medical and Dental Council (now known as HPCSA). He then completed 2 years of military conscription serving at the rehabilitation unit of 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria. He then completed a year of spinal deformity management at a top private practice in Israel (1991). An opportunity arose to open a private practice at Carstenhof Clinic in Midrand in 1992 and the following year Rowan opened a new practice at Sunninghill Medical Institute (now Netcare Sunninghill Hospital and continues to consult there). Rowan then joined in a partnership with Gavin and opened a 2nd practice at Netcare Olivedale Clinic and then another 2 practices at Medi-Clinic Sandton and Medi-Clinic Morningside.
 
Rowan’s interest in spine deformity management continued and in 2004 he attended the Elena Salva Scoliosis Centre in Barcelona and studied the Cheneau 3D bracing method with the esteemed Dr Manuel Rigo, and then launched this method in South Africa – a first for South African scoliosis patients. Rowan has attended several scoliosis training schools over the years and has dedicated his practice time to conservative spine deformity management, working with some of the top spinal surgeons and therapists in South Africa. Rowan also maintains close contact with several spine researchers and organisations both in South Africa and internationally.
 
Under the broad field of spinal deformity management, Rowan has also innovated new methods in treating chest deformity (Pectus Carinatum) and together with Gavin, has also designed and developed a 3D spinal seating system for Cerebral Palsy and neuro-Muscular patients with severe spinal deformity.

Ashley has been an HPCSA registered Orthotist Prosthetist since 2015. She graduated in 2016 from Tshwane University of Technology with her BTech in Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics (cum laude).

She completed her internship in the Military orthotics department, and moved to private practice in 2015. In 2018 she joined the BSI practice to gain clinical knowledge and expertise working under Gavin Shnier. She has completed numerous product training courses run by BSI’s trusted suppliers, and maintains up to date knowledge on the devices and components used within the practice.

With the wealth of knowledge and experience gained in the practice, she is able to insure that every device is manufactured to the highest quality standards, within a timeous manner. At Berkowitz Shnier Inc. patient care comes first. We are a small group of medical orthotist prosthetist’s, each with a different background. Individually we all bring something different to the practice, and collaboratively address every patient’s unique circumstances.

We are members of the following international societies:

SOSORT (International Society on Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment)

IRSSD (International Research Society for Spinal Deformities)

ISPO (International Society of Prosthetist Orthotists)

Ponsetti International Association

ACPOC (Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics)

As well as the following local associations:

HPCSA (Health Professionals Council of South Africa)

SAOPA (South African Orthotic and Prosthetic Association) (Rowan is a member of the Executive Committee)