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Prosthetic services

Measuring Residual Limb

When is the residual limb ready for measurement?

How long does it take before for the residual limb is ready for measurement?

Once the initial measurements have been taken a number of test fittings are carried out.   This is vital for the comfort of the patient. I like to compare the making of a prosthesis to the making of a wedding dress. For a young future bride the making of a wedding dress is of vital importance and she wants to have it fitting absolutely perfectly.

The more fittings the dressmaker is prepared to do for her, the happier she will be as she wants the outcome to be perfect. If the dressmaker’s worth her salt and has pride in her work she will be happy to do the extra fittings even though they are not in the initial cost.

We will do as much as it takes to make sure that the outcome of the prosthesis will give the patient comfort, mobility and confidence. If the patient is a trans femoral (above knee amputee)the process of measuring and fitting for the first walking prosthesis takes between three and five days.

If the amputee is a trans tibial (below the knee amputee) the first walking prosthesis can be anything from one hour to 2 days once both the patient and the prosthetist are happy with the fit. When the final prosthesis is made the time frame should not be longer than three weeks before the finished prosthesis is fitted.

During this process the amputee goes for an extensive exercise program which is carried out by an experienced physiotherapy team.

The Rehabilitation exercise program is optional and it depends on the economic situation of the patient usually the medical aid will pay for this service as they have already invested money in the prosthesis and they would like the amputee to make full use of the prosthesis. Even though the exercise sessions are long and hard my patients report to me that they are a lot of fun. Actually I find them fun because I join in some times especially the dance class.

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Prosthetic services

From surgery to rehabilitation to the fitting of your prosthesis – The journey: part 2 – Learning about prosthetic limbs and their technicalities

Modern prosthetics work so effectively nowadays and look so convincing that often, you may not be able to detect that one is being worn.  Those with prosthetic legs can often walk, run and even swim as though they were using natural limbs.   Nowadays, prosthetic technologies are available that enable the wearer of prosthetic arm and hands to have individual control of all five fingers.

Prosthetic limbs rank high among the world’s greatest inventions and provide a great boosting in terms of optimism and independence – key factors in dramatically improving quality of life.

What do prosthetics involve?

Prosthetics, also known as artificial limbs, are an artificially constructed substitute for a limb that could have been lost through either a congenital condition which is present at birth, illness, wartime injury or accident.

A cosmesis has little function and is worn for prosthetic reasons

A type of prosthetic known as a cosmesis is designed purely for cosmetic reasons and has little or no function.  Artificial hands often fall into this category.

Other prosthetics are highly functional and have little or no cosmetic value, which artificial legs designed to be covered by trousers are a typical example and are often little more than metal rods and wires.

Types of prostheses

Any part of the body, from the ear or nose to the finger or toe could be replaced by a prosthesis in theory.  However, in practice there are four common types of prosthetic limbs that are designed to replace either a partial or complete loss of an arm or leg.

  • A below the knee, also known as a BK or transtibial prosthetic consists of a prosthetic lower leg which is attached to an intact upper leg.
  • An above the knee, also known as a AK or tranfemoral prosthetic consists of a prosthetic lower and upper leg which includes a prosthetic knee,
  • A below the elbow, also known as a BE or transradial prosthetic consists of a prosthetic forearm.
  • An above the elbow, also known as a transhunmeral prosthetic consists of a prosthetic lower and upper arm which includes a prosthetic elbow.
  • Above the knee (AK, transfemoral): A prosthetic lower and upper leg, including a prosthetic knee.
  • Below the elbow (BE, transradial): A prosthetic forearm.
  • Above the elbow (AE, transhumeral): A prosthetic lower and upper arm, including a prosthetic elbow.

At Roger Wolfson and Associates we firmly believe that the more you know about what goes on behind the scenes with prosthetics, the better equipped you will be to get the best out of your new limb.  Give Roger a call on (011) 640 7198 and send an email to info@rogerwolfsonandassoicates.co.za.

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Prosthetic services

From surgery to rehabilitation to the fitting of your prosthesis – the journey: part 1

The aim of this two-part article is to offer a concise overview of your journey towards your ultimate goal of a successful prosthetic outcome – that is, to restore your mobility.

So that you can lead an active and normal life, your therapy team, which includes doctors, therapists your prosthetist and not to mention you and your loved ones, will all band together to help you achieve independence.

An average indication is that the rehabilitation process can take anything from two to six months.  The length of time this process takes can vary considerably taking various factors into account such as how well your prosthesis fits and your own levels of motivation.

The information that follows outlines a number of helpful suggestions to aid your rehabilitation and recovery.  However, it should be borne in mind that the instructions you receive from those on your rehabilitation team should take priority since it is those individuals who are best qualified to evaluate your individual situation.

Whether you have recently found out about your amputation or have known for a length of time, it is important to always remember that you are not alone.  Your physicians are there to offer support, answer your questions and find you the solutions that will work best for you.

Pre-surgical examinations and discussions

If you are to undergo a planned amputation surgical procedure, you will be examined several times in great detail prior to surgery.  Your doctors will explain what takes place during surgery and what will take place after the operation has been performed.

In the case of a traumatic accident, such conversations will happen post-surgery.

You have the opportunity to ask any questions that are important to you during these discussions and it is a good idea to note down anything that you may wish to ask your doctor prior to these discussions.  Always remember that it is the task of the physician to clearly explain things clearly.

Preparation in advance

Talk to your prosthetist about the types of prostheses available and what is best suited to you

It is of critical importance that you talk to your prosthetist about the types of prostheses available and what is best suited to you in terms of your lifestyle needs.

Exercises

If at all possible, it is a good idea to begin therapy exercises that you will use after the amputation surgery before your surgery takes place.  This will enable you to strengthen your muscles in advance.  It is also a good idea to practice moving properly from the bed to the wheelchair.  This advance preparation can make the time after the operation a lot easier on you.  Of course, your medical team are there to guide when it comes to the exercises most suitable for you.

Counselling and psychological support

Undergoing an amputation represents a big change in your life and it is always helpful to seek counselling and psychological support which can greatly assist you in working through any issues or fears you may have, while taking the weight off of yourself as well as your friends and family.

Engaging with other amputees

We strongly recommend that you engaging with other amputees who have also undergone amputation surgery.  Others will offer their opinions and advice and will be able to share tips on everything to do with using your new prosthesis.

At Roger Wolfson and Associates we are here to answer your questions and put you in touch with those that offer support in numerous ways.  Call us on (011) 640 7198 or drop Roger a mail at info@rogerwolfsonandassociates.co.za.

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Articles/Case Studies

3 important questions you should ask prior to undergoing a lower limb amputation

Statistics show that for every 1000 people in South Africa there are approximately 1.5 amputees.

The main reasons behind why and how amputations occur include:

  • Vascular disease which covers diabetes and peripheral arterial diseases
  • Cancer
  • Trauma

In this article we address three important questions you should consider prior to undergoing a lower limb amputation which can be either below the knee (trans tibial) or above the knee (trans femoral).

 

  • At one point should I consult with a prosthetist?

 

To ensure optimal prosthetic outcomes, it is critical that you consult with a prosthetist prior to undergoing surgery.

The process begins with an overall evaluation of your mobility and lifestyle expectations as well as an analysis of the various details involved in your condition as well as the nature of the upcoming surgery.

A number of surgeons see this process as invaluable especially in determining whether certain surgical techniques should be used that could enhance desired outcomes post-surgery.

Detailed knowledge and understanding of the specifics involved in your situation greatly assist the prosthetist to fabricate and fit a prosthetic that will work best for you.

 

  • How do I prepare for the initial prosthesis fitting

 

The time it takes before a prosthesis can be worn varies from person to person, and can also depend upon the nature of the surgery as well as your own unique circumstances and can even be influenced by surgical techniques such as Immediate Post-Prosthesis (IPOP).

Your surgeon, your prosthetist and your physical therapist all play very important roles in your rehabilitation. Your residual limb is bandaged and treated immediately post-surgery in order for your surgical wound to effectively heal. It is crucial that you follow the recommendations of all professionals involved in your recovery.

Taking the appropriate time to heal and wear compression stockings to decrease the swelling are both key factors in preparing you for your initial prosthesis fitting.

 

  • What takes place during physical therapy in the prosthesis fitting process?

 

Post-operative physical therapy ensures that you retain the function of your residual limb and prepare the area for your temporary and then your definitive prosthesis. Physical therapy is important in maintaining and expanding mobility and activity levels during the prosthesis fitting process.

 

Maintaining a positive mental attitude is vital to successful recovery

The role of maintaining a positive mental attitude cannot be underestimated in successful recovery and it is not uncommon for a patient to discover that they have greater mobility once accustomed to a new prosthesis as opposed to living with an unhealthy limb prior to surgery.

 

If you would like to know more about what to do prior to undergoing surgery for an amputation or need to ask Roger a question call us on (011) 640 7198 or drop us an email at info@rogerwolfsonandassociates.co.za.

 

 

 

 

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