Q – What is a Prosthesis?
A – By definition is a prosthesis is a definitive artificial limb that is alignable or articulated or, in lower extremity applications, capable of bearing weight. Prosthesis means an artificial medical device that is not surgically implanted and that is used to replace a missing limb, appendage, or other external human body part and that includes an artificial limb, hand, or foot. The term does not include artificial eyes, ears, dental appliances, ostomy products, devices such as artificial breasts or eyelashes, wigs, or other devices as determined by the board that do not have a significant impact on the musculoskeletal functions of the body.
At AALOS, after 54 years of Redefining the Possible, we have learned that it is that and much more. For those who have placed their trust and faith in AALOS to regain their lives and independence, we find that a prosthesis is “PRIDE”, “LIFE BLOOD”, “FAMILY”, “FRIENDS”, ”LOVE”, ”HOPE”, “SECURITY”, “FUN”, “PERSONAL FREEDOM”, “INDEPENDENCE”, “EMPOWERMENT”, Etc. For without prosthesis and the dedicated, caring professionals at AALOS, these and many other things that are taken for granted would be severely limited following a life changing event such as an amputation.
*At AALOS, we realize and are reminded everyday by those whose lives we are privileged to be a part of that a prosthesis is more than just an assistive device and make it our goal to return these elements to our patients lives.
Q – What is the most common reason for amputation?
A – Vascular disease and poor circulation accounts for approximately 85% of the Lower Limb amputations in the AALOS coverage area.
Q – How soon after my amputation will I get my prosthesis?
A – It depends on how quickly you heal following the amputation. True prosthetic management typically begins around the time stitches or sutures are removed. At that point, there is usually about one week devoted to residual limb or stump shaping and then the measurement for the prosthesis can begin. It may take about 2 weeks from that time for initial delivery of your prosthesis.
Q – Will my prosthesis look like my natural leg?
A – It is a personal choice if you want it to look like your natural leg or if you want a more creative design. Many prosthetic wearers like to personalize the prosthesis with unique graphics. If it is your first experience wearing a prosthesis after an amputation, a cosmetic cover is not recommended because of the frequent adjustments during the PT rehab phase.
Q – Is it normal for me to still feel my missing limb, foot and toes or hand and fingers?
A – Yes, in nearly every patient, the patient still feels the missing body part after an amputation. These sensations are referred to as phantom sensations. They often will subside over time, but in many cases never completely go away.
Q – Will the prosthesis be heavy?
A – Prostheses manufactured today utilize the lightestweight and most advanced materials available. Carbon fiber construction of the socket the residual limb fits into is thin and strong. The rest of the prosthesis is fabricated from aluminum, titanium, and/or carbon composite which are also lightweight and strong. However, the prosthesis will be attached or suspended on the outside of the body and can feel heavy. In comparison to the amputated body part, the prosthesis is much lighter but its actual weight is more noticeable to the wearer.
Q – Will the ankle on my prosthesis move?
A – Prosthetic feet have numerous ankle configurations and some actually have built in axis which allow for motion that accommodates uneven ground. Other prosthetic feet are made of materials that simulate ankle motion during ambulation/walking. All of the ankles in this category move during ambulation and conform to the surface the wearer is on at the time. However, they do not move independently. The ankles respond to ground reaction forces.
Q – Will I have different prosthesis for different activities?
A – The answer to that question depends on your prosthetic benefit in your insurance plan. Under most typical insurance plans, there is only one prosthesis allowed based on medical necessity
At AALOS, we work with each person with an amputation on an individual basis to determine extracurricular activities. We then explore funding sources that may help offset the cost of an additional activity -specific prosthesis.