- Following amputation surgery, the proper healing of the residual limb is a critical part of the process. It is especially important that you follow your surgeon’s instructions, and keep the surgical site clean, and avoid infection.
- After the surgery sutures have been removed, you will be fitted with a “shrinker sock”. The shrinker is made from an elastic material is used to control swelling and provide compression of the residual limb in preparation for a prosthetic fitting.
- Once the wound is healed and tissue swelling has decreased, usually 3-6 weeks after surgery, Premier’s Prosthetist, will meet with you for a prosthetic fitting. A plaster impression and measurements will be taken to establish limb volume. These will be used for the fabrication of your test socket. During this visit the Prosthetist will also discuss your mobility goals and desired activity level. Your prosthetic prescription will be based on these factors.
A “test socket” is a clear plastic mold of your residual limb. During your visit, you will wear the socket while the prosthetist evaluates the fit. Modifications will be made to address any fitting issues to achieve a comfortable and proper fit. The “test socket” will also be used to fabricate your “preparatory” or prosthesis.
New amputation patients will receive a basic “preparatory” or temporary prosthesis for initial gait training. Wearing this socket helps your residual limb to stabilize in volume and shape. It is usually worn for months. You will then graduate to a “definitive” or permanent prosthesis designed with more responsive components to reach higher goals.
Once your residual limb volume and shape has stabilized, you will be ready to be fitted with a “definitive” or permanent prosthesis designed for long term use. Because of the differences in each patient’s anatomy, the fabrication of your prosthetic device is an intricate, custom procedure requiring the expert knowledge and skill of our experienced prosthetist. We work with each patient to identify the components and technology needed for a prosthesis that will be most appropriate for your individual activity level, functional needs and lifestyle goals.
The prosthetist will prescribe an exercise program to increase your strength and function. Physical therapy is an important step in learning how to properly use your new prosthesis and in becoming a successful prosthetic user.
Most patients can return to normal function within several months. Recovery rates are primarily affected by the individual’s goals, a timely, comfortable prosthetic fitting, good follow-up care and a positive attitude.