Losing a limb is a life altering experience. It is said to be one of the most traumatic events that a person can experience. Overcoming this crippling condition can seem impossible. Learning to walk again will definitely take courage and perseverance. The important thing is just to never give up.
For people with lower limb amputations prostheses are a must. Nobody can be at their best if they have to sit in a wheelchair or walk around with crutches all the time. You want to be on your feet, able to use your hands for working, waving or whatever! So, getting to a prosthetist after your amputation (or before if possible) should be one of your top priorities.
The rehabilitation following amputation starts almost immediately following surgery. A rigid dressing can be wrapped around the residual limb to help shape the limb in such a way that a prosthesis will fit more easily. This can be done while the wound is still healing. As soon as the wound is healed it is time to start the process of measuring and fitting your first prosthesis! This process applies to arms as well as legs.
After achieving a perfect fit your real rehab starts. Now it is time to start using your prosthesis. Whether it is an arm or a leg, you will have to practice using it and it will take some time for you to get used to the new addition to your body. Having a prosthesis that fits well, looks neatly worked off and is built specifically for its intended use helps to move this process along smoothly.
Where does the prosthetist fit into this picture? We do the following:
- Consult with patient before amputation. This gives us an opportunity to inform the patient about realistic outcomes following amputation. It also gives us time to briefly outline the steps in the rehabilitation process that will begin after the amputation.
- Apply rigid dressing after amputation while the patient is still in hospital.
- Evaluate patient to determine what components to use when making the prosthesis. There are so many parts to choose from that it will drive you insane trying to figure out which ones are the best for you.
Luckily, finding the right components for every specific patient is part of our job, so you don’t have to worry about it.
- Measure the residual limb and manufacture a socket for the limb to fit into.
- Fit the socket to the residual limb to make sure that the fit is perfect.
- Manufacture the complete prosthesis when the socket fits.
- Educate the patient about the use of- and care for the prosthesis.
- Maintenance on prosthesis.
Basically, the prosthetist does everything related to the prosthesis. It is our wish to see every single person who has an amputation live a normal life without limitations. Wearing a prosthesis that fits well and has been made for your specific needs will enable you to do the things that you love!