Breakey Prosthetics Inc.
There are many factors that will change the size of a residuum while either wearing or not wearing a prosthesis. Here are some common problems with wearing a below knee prosthesis that can be avoided by adding or deleting socks depending on the size of the residuum for that day or time of discomfort. To view the troubleshooting chart, click on the link below.
The following questions and answers are a few of the most frequently asked. If you have a question that is not posted here, you are welcome to e-mail us and we will do our best to answer your questions for you.
A. In most cases the residuum will be sore and tender from the surgery. Using a lightly wrapped ace bandage will help to control the swelling, however you must be careful not to wrap the ace bandage to tight or unevenly as doing so may cut off the circulation to the end of the residuum. If a protective brace has been provided to you this should be worn in order to keep the residuum protected and additionally, to keep the knee from getting a contracture which will prevent the knee from fully straightening. The residuum should be elevated waist high while sitting in order to help reduce the swelling which in turn will also help to reduce the pain. Daily exercise of the upper body while sitting will help make it easier while transferring and, eventually using walker while initially training with a prosthesis. At all times do not do anything that could result in a fall.
A. Anybody that has gone through an amputation is a candidate for a temporary prosthesis except on rare occasions where there are other major medical problems. Some people will use a prosthesis for ease of safer transfers, while others will become full time wearers and use it for their everyday activities and more.
A. The first step to receiving a prosthesis is to find a Prosthetist. Most prosthetic facilities operate differently and the relationship with your prosthetist is usually a long term relationship. It is best to visit more than one prosthetic facility to make sure you are comfortable, and that you will get the care that you need. For the first year of prosthetic rehabilitation, you will need to visit the prosthetist on a regular basis for adjustments to the prosthesis. Ask questions about the experience the prosthetist has for dealing with your particular needs, if prosthetic training is available, and if the facility has the necessary means of making adjustments on your prosthesis during your visits to the office. Recommendations from doctors and other amputees is also helpful.
A. Most major insurance companies cover prosthetic devices although, depending on your particular plan, there may be co-pays or deductibles.
A. Most insurance companies contract with more than one facility, you can choose where you want to go for your care, however it is best to find out if there might be differences in co-pays.
A. Once you have found a prosthetic facility that you are comfortable with, and the stitches are removed from the residuum by your doctor, your doctor will write a prescription and or send a referral for a prosthesis. A shrinker sock will be fitted by the prosthetist in preparation for the design of a temporary prosthesis.
A. The first prosthesis that you receive is called a Temporary or Preparatory prosthesis. A temporary prosthesis consists of a socket with a soft interface that is worn on the residuum, a pylon system that has alignment capabilities and a foot. This type of prosthesis is usually not cosmetically restored due to the fairly short duration of use. There are many reasons for fitting a temporary prosthesis. When you are initially fitted with a prosthesis the residuum will go through changes most often shrinking in size due to the pressures from wearing the prosthesis. The bulk of these changes will occur in the first 4-8 months of wearing a prosthesis. As the residuum changes, the prosthesis will need adjustments to be made to it by the prosthetist to prevent irritation and or skin breakdown to the residuum. Regular visits to the prosthetic facility are necessary for these adjustments. How soon these changes occur depends on the individual and the increase of activities while wearing the prosthesis. The temporary prosthesis is also used as a training prosthesis. In addition, before moving to a definitive or permanent prosthesis, it is also used as an evaluation tool to determine what activity level of function you have achieved and what type of prosthesis and components will benefit you most in the permanent prosthesis.
A. When you receive a temporary prosthesis there will be time and weight bearing limits on its use. Most people start off with 30-45 minutes of use, three times a day, and slowly increase the wearing time and weight bearing amount a little every day. Your prosthetist will guide you on your individual schedule. This allows the body to become accustom to wearing a prosthesis and can prevent skin breakdown. Usually within 4-6 weeks most people are wearing the prosthesis on a full time basis, but this also depends on the individual and level of amputation.
A. A permanent prosthesis will consist of components that meet your functional level and will also be cosmetically restored.
A. No, The residual limb will continue to shrink and atrophy for 18-24 months after surgery, this usually requires refitting of a prosthesis 12- 18 months after receiving the first permanent prosthesis due to marked changes in the residuum. The refitted prosthesis should continue to fit for 2-4 years before needing replaced again, although many other factors such as weight gain or loss, and changes in activity level will also change the size and shape of the residuum. Continued visits to your prosthetist for adjustments are necessary and possible replacement depends on the amount of changes the residuum has gone through.