The initial evaluation typically takes 1-3 hours and we use this as an opportunity for you to meet our qualified practitioners, staff, and ask us questions. During the evaluation process The Limb Center establishes the patients state of mind, evaluate the limb and discuss needs and future goals. If the patient has been an amputee for some time and already has prosthesis we will evaluate the current prosthesis and discuss future options and available equipment to meet the patients needs.
The Limb Centers qualified practitioners will examine the residual limb to identify any areas of concern and listen to the patient’s subjective observations. We will also perform a gait analysis and track the patient’s progress through each visit.
During this process we will discuss your goals then provide you with knowledge as to the available technology that might be right for you. We will discuss types of socket technologies along with the types of available feet and knees depending on your level of amputation.
We take the evaluation process seriously and value this time for us to build a foundation. We realize that patients have a choice in who they choose for services. We understand the patient-practitioner relationship is a lifelong journey and are privileged when a patient walks through our door. We consider it our obligation to provide quality service.
If the patient is a new amputee it is important to begin preparing the limb for a prosthetic. Often times a shrinker will be worn to promote healing, control fluids, and to help further along the shrinking process to prepare the patient for their prepatory or definitive prosthesis.
It is also recommended that a shrinker be worn even after the patient has their prosthesis and often times it is worn throughout a patient’s life. The shrinker helps to keep swelling to a minimum, as limb volume will fluctuate depending on a patients diet or activities.
- We will cast the residual limb by wrapping a wet plaster that will give us a negative cast of the limb. Once the cast is hardened it is removed.
- Next, we fill the cast or make a positive mold of the limb by filling it with plaster.
- This mold is taken and is then modified by the prosthetist. Care is taken to ensure all pressures in the socket are correct to meet the patient’s specific needs. To ensure a comfortable fit a test or check socket is made by forming a heated sheet of clear plastic over the modified mold.
- The clear plastic socket is worn by the patient to ensure a comfortable fit. If any changes need to be made the plastic test socket makes adjustments relatively easy.
- A new positive model is made by filling the clear socket with plaster.
- The socket to be used on the definitive prosthesis is formed over the model by using a plastic resin or other materials.
- The definitive or final socket is attached to a pylon or other components that can be adjusted for alignment.
- You are now ready to be fit with your definitive prosthesis.
Once you have been fit with your prosthesis our work is never over. Your prosthesis is a mechanical device and will need to be maintained and serviced regularly. In addition,, if you experience weight gain or loss or if your activity level has changed you will want to discuss options with your practitioner and make adjustments to your prosthesis.
Depending on how active you are your prosthesis should last from two – four years. It will require maintenance at some point similar to the wear and tear a vehicle experiences or the same way your shoes wear out over time.
Prosthetic supplies may also be needed such as liners, socks, suspension sleeves, shrinkers, etc. The Limb Center team is here to assist you with those needs and don’t hesitate to contact our office for any of your needs.
Lastly, one of the most important areas especially for new amputees is to have a strong support network. Adjusting to life as an amputee can be challenging and no one understands that more than another amputee. At The Limb Center we believe in family and our patients are like family to us. We have many long time patients of ours that are willing to talk with new amputees and provide support during this transition. If this sounds like something you are interested in please let one of our team members know.