1. How the prosthetic process works
Once given the go ahead, we perform an evaluation which may require casting and measurement of the limb. Information gathered from you and our amputee mobility predictor helps us determine the appropriate components for your activity level. A clear check socket will then be fabricated to allow us to make an evaluation while the socket is being worn. Adjustments to the check socket inform fabrication of a temporary or definitive socket. Now the prosthesis is ready for fitting. Fitting and alignment are different procedures requiring a great deal of the prosthetist’s skill and a great deal of cooperation from the patient. During the first fitting and alignment, the prosthetist will train the amputee in the basic principles of walking, so as to arrive at the best set of conditions for the amputee.
Fitting affects alignment, alignment affects fitting, and both affect comfort and function. Once the fit is achieved, the physical therapist will recommend more extensive training.
2. When to contact us
As soon as possible. This allows us to provide information and answer any questions you may have about the upcoming procedure.
3. How long should I wear my shrinker?
Shrinkers should be worn all day and night, with the exception of bathing or showering, unless otherwise instructed by your physician. Shrinkers may be necessary throughout the entire prosthetic process, depending on changes in an individual’s limb volume.
4. How soon should I be fitted?
Your physician will determine when you are ready for prosthetic fitting. Typically, it takes 3-6 weeks for the limb to heal after surgery. Primarily, it depends on how fast you heal and whether or not there are any other existing problems.
5. Paying for your prosthesis
Most insurances cover prosthetic devices. In the event you don’t have insurance, evaluations are free and convenient payment plans are available.
6. Caring for your prosthesis
The stump and liner must be washed daily to avoid irritation and infection. Mild soap and warm water are recommended. Clean the liner once a week with rubbing alcohol to kill possible bacteria.
7. Can I sleep in my prosthesis?
No. The prosthesis should be taken off before bed.
8. Is my prosthesis waterproof?
Generally, prostheses are not waterproof. There are, however, prostheses designed to be waterproof. Ask your prosthetist about waterproof prosthetic devices.
9. Is physical therapy necessary?
It is recommended that you receive physical therapy before and after receipt of your prosthesis. This allows the therapist to provide much-needed pre-prosthetic strengthening and post-prosthetic gait ( walking ) training. This allows us to prevent the forming of bad habits from the beginning.
10. What is a preparatory or temporary prosthesis?
A preparatory or temporary prosthesis is used to allow the patient to begin walking in a relatively fast period of time. A temporary/preparatory prosthesis can be fitted in 1 to 2 days after evaluation if the limb is ready. The preparatory stage can last 2-6 months, depending on limb shrinkage.
11. Will the prosthesis hurt?
No. The prosthesis should not hurt unless there is something wrong. Contact your prosthetist immediately if pain or discomfort occurs.
12. Driving with my prosthesis
If you are a right-leg amputee, it is recommended that a vehicle be modified with hand controls. If your are a left-leg amputee, driving should be fine. Although not advised, it is also possible to drive with your left leg if you are a right-leg amputee. Please check with your local DMV for rules and regulations.