Frequently Asked Prosthetic Questions For Amputees
When can I get my Prosthesis
The timing depends on how quickly your residual limb heals after surgery. Some individuals receive a temporary prosthesis immediately following their surgery, or within 2-3 weeks. Most typically a prosthetic fittting process starts 2-6 months after surgery
How do I choose a Prosthetist
The decision on which prosthetist to choose is ultimately yours to make. A relationship between an amputee and their prosthetist is very personal and unique. An amputee’s relationship with his/her prosthetist becomes lifelong. When choosing a prosthetist be sure that the individual is professional, knowledgeable, reliable, and covered by your insurance. Plan to build a strong relationship with both the prosthetist and the supporting staff at the prosthetic facility. In other words” it needs to feel right”.
A great resource is www. amputee –coalition.org prosthetistfinder
Is it helpful to speak with other amputees
As a new amputee we believe it is very valuable to speak and meet with other amputees who have already gone through the limb loss process. A prosthetic facility should be willing to put you in contact with others who have experienced limb loss. At Orthotech we invite every amputee to tour one of our facilities, meet with our staff, and current amputee patients.
How much will my prosthesis cost
Most health insurance plans will at least partially cover the cost of your prosthesis. It can range widely in price, depending on your amputation level and the type of device that is best suited for you.
What can I do to prepare myself for a prosthesis
Remember that everyone responds differently to the loss of a limb. It is important to work through your feelings and emotions. Exercise to build the muscles needed for balance and walking. Properly take care of your residual limb prior to being fitted for your prosthesis.
Is a prosthesis difficult to use
There is no doubt that learning to use your prosthesis is a process. It will take time, effort, strength, & determination on your part. Your prosthetist should give you training on how to use your prosthesis. Your prosthetist may refer you to a physical therapist who can teach you how to improve your gait, perform activities within your home, car, or place of work. Your prosthetist should teach you how to care for your prosthesis, put in on and off, and how to adjust for different types of surfaces.
Once I get my prosthesis, how soon can I return to what I used to do before the surgery
Every individual is different, but you should be able to get back to a normal level of functioning within a few months. How well you do depends on your attitude and determination. The first year following an amputation is tough. There will be changes in the shape and size of your residual limb. A lot of effort is needed to recondition your muscles and find your “new normal”.
Does wearing a prosthesis hurt
Wearing a prosthesis should not hurt! You should not have to get used to the pain! It is important to know that an amputees body will change day to day and over long periods of time. If your prosthesis feels uncomforatable it is time to visit your prosthetist and have adjustments made to make if feel comfortable once again.
How long will my prosthesis last
A prosthesis can last anywhere from several months to several years. Many changes occur in the early stages of limb loss, which can require socket changes, liners, or a different device. Once you are comfortable with your device it will only need minor adjustments and repairs and can last an average of 3 years.
Education is a key componate of being a successfull amputee. Find a prosthetic facility that can answer all of your questions and concerns. At Orthotech we invite amputees and their families to come tour our facilities, talk with our staff and even meet some of our current amputee patients.