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3 Questions You Should Ask Before A Below Knee Amputation

20160505_084332_resized_1According to the Amputee Coalition, there are nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the United States. The main causes for those amputations are vascular disease (54%) – including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease – trauma (45%) and cancer (less than 2%). One of the most common leg amputation points is below the knee. At Premier Prosthetic Center in Knoxville, we commonly work with patients to design and create a custom-made prosthesis to ensure optimal mobility and quality of life. While each patient has unique needs, these are the first questions we typically address:

When should I consult with a prosthetist?

It’s crucial to talk to a prosthetist before surgery, if possible. Premier Prosthetics Center consults with patients and their surgeons prior to amputation surgery to ensure the best possible outcome. The process starts with an evaluation of your mobility and lifestyle expectations in addition to analysis of the details of your condition and upcoming amputation surgery. Many surgeons find this process valuable in helping to establish whether certain surgical techniques can enhance your outcomes after surgery. Detailed understanding of the specifics of your situation help the prosthetist fabricate and fit a prosthesis that will best serve you.

How long will it be before I can wear my prosthesis?

Your surgeon and physical therapist will give you instructions for postoperative care. Immediately after amputation, your residual limb will be bandaged and treated so your surgical wound can heal. It is vital that you stick to the recommendations of your surgeon and physical therapist to ensure you fully recover from your amputation surgery as quickly—but even more importantly, as thoroughly—as possible. Taking the time to heal the wound and wear compression stockings to decrease swelling is key to preparing for your initial prosthesis fitting.

What should I expect from physical therapy?

The primary goals of your post operative physical therapy will be to ensure you retain the function of your residual limb and prepare the area for your preparatory and then definitive prostheses. While it may seem like the last thing you want to do, physical therapy is important to maintaining and expanding your mobility and activity level during the prosthesis fitting process. The Premier Prosthetic Center can create the unique prosthesis you need to achieve the level of mobility you desire and provide the superior comfort, fit and function you deserve!

You’ll discover that attitude plays a big role in successful below the knee amputations. While it’s true that you’re going through a major change in lifestyle, hold tight to the realization that you can and will walk or run easily again. The more determined and diligent you are with following your physical therapist’s recommendations, the sooner you’ll be back to your optimal activity level. In fact, it’s not unusual for patients to realize they have more mobility once they’re accustomed to their prosthesis than they did when they were living with an unhealthy leg.

Are you currently facing amputation, or struggling with a poorly fitting prosthesis?  Call Premier Prosthetic Center in Knoxville today at (865) 474-7096 or schedule a free consultation online and let our highly-qualified staff create prosthesis for your unique lifestyle with our specialized design and fitting process.

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