What is rigid dressing?
Your surgeon may prescribe a rigid dressing which will be applied by your prosthetist, to the residual limb right after surgery. A pylon and an prosthetic foot or hand will be attached to the cast so you can begin using the residual limb soon after surgery. The dressing is changed every two weeks. We also provide removable rigid dressing that makes it easier for you to apply independently.
Why is there so much swelling?
It is common to have swelling after your surgery. This is a natural reaction to the trauma of surgery and will continue throughout the healing process. Since you now have less muscle musculature, it is more likely for you to have fluid build-up due to less muscle activity after the amputation.
How do I reduce the swelling?
Using elastic shrinkers or bandages decreases the swelling and helps shape the residual limb. Swelling will continue to decrease over the next several months as your residual limb shrinks significantly from both fluid loss and muscle inactivity.
What is phantom pain?
Many people experience the sensation that the amputated limb is still present. You may have the sensation of tingling, itching, or movement, as well as feelng episodes of sharp, squeezing, or burning pain. The causes of phantom sensation are not clearly understood, but the experience usually disappears within a few months after surgery. Inform your doctor and prosthetist of any discomfort that you may experience.
How soon after surgery will I get my prosthesis?
Many factors determine when you are ready for your first prosthesis. Your residual limb must be well-healed with no tenderness and minimal swelling. Generally, if there are no complications, the first fitting occurs approximately four to five weeks after amputation. If you have poor circulation, the fitting may be delayed an additional two to three weeks to allow for adequate healing.
How do I prepare my body for wearing my prosthesis?
Exercise is important in increasing your overall strength, flexibility and preparing your muscles for the prosthesis. A physical or occupational therapist assesses your overall physical condition and may prescribe an exercise program. Isometric exercise, which involves tightening and relaxing the muscles, helps you maintain good muscle tone and can be started while you are still in bed. Along with exercise, gradually desensitizing your residual limb is an important step in preparing for your prosthesis. Begin by massaging your limb, then work up to patting it, rubbing it with a towel, and even lightly slapping your residual limb. Preventing contractures (the tightening of the muscles and joints) also makes wearing your prosthesis easier.
What prosthesis is best for me?
Your prosthetist consults with your physician regarding the prescription for a prosthesis. There are many individual factors to consider in prescribing the right prosthesis for you. Some of these include the shape and condition, previous activity level and lifestyle, commitment, and financial situation. Discuss your interests, lifestyle, work and goals with your prosthetist, so he or she can design a prosthesis that provides the highest level of function and independence possible.
How is my prosthesis made?
Your prosthesis is made up of many different components selected specifically for you and your lifestyle. Your prosthetist begins by taking a series of measurements and a cast of your residual limb. From the cast, a mold is made and used to design a custom socket. Your residual limb fits snugly in the socket which is attached to the other components that make up your prosthesis. There are also a variety of skin-like coverings that can be used to resemble your other limb as closely as possible.
How do I learn to use my prosthesis?
During the initial fittings, your prosthetist guides you through the basic principles of using your prosthesis, fine-tuning the fit and alignment as needed. For lower limb amputees, more extensive training (walking on different terrains, climbing stairs, getting in and out of a car) is provided by a physical therapist. If you have an upper limb prosthesis, an occupational therapist helps you perform daily living activities such as grooming, eating and handling various objects.
How much will my prosthesis cost?
Your prosthesis is custom-designed to meet your specific needs using advanced and expensive materials and components. Insurance coverage varies widely, but most private insurance plans and Medicare pay a large portion of the charges. Medicaid covers certain types of prosthetic devices. Many HMO and PPO plans do not cover prosthetic devices unless you have the higher option plans that include orthotic and prosthetic devices. You will probably have many questions before and after your amputation. We encourage you to talk to your physician, therapist, and prosthetist, and discuss your concerns and receive answers to your questions. You can also pay out of your pocket, which we will give you a fair price for after you have been carefully evaluated.
How long will my first prosthesis last?
Your first prosthesis is usually worn for about three to six months. During this time, your residual limb continues to shrink and becomes less sensitive. Your prosthetist also makes many adjustments, and prosthetic socks may be added to help the socket fit properly as your limb shrinks. You learn to walk and balance on your new prosthesis, which helps shrink the residual limb faster. If you’ve lost an arm, your first prosthesis allows you to pick up objects and regain daily living skills.
When will I be ready for my definitive prosthesis?
As soon as your residual limb is healed and the size and shape have stabilized, you are ready for a more complex “definitive” prosthesis. Your definitive prosthesis can last for many years especially if you take proper care of it and have it periodically “checked and serviced” by your prosthetist. Also, it is very important that you maintain your weight. Even a ten-pound weight gain or loss could affect the prosthetic fitting, which requires adjustments or a new prosthesis.
Is it possible to get them the same day I come in?
We carry many off the shelf items, but we also fabricate custom items. Your physician has recommended which style is best for you depending on several factors, including activity level and medical condition. If you are to be fit with an off the shelf item, we may still have to order it if we don’t have your size. Custom devices are fabricated based on measurements and/or a model obtained from the affected limb and therefore providing a custom requires more than 1 visit.
What does a brace/foot orthotic/prosthesis look like?
You can find pictures of our products on the Services page.
Will I be able to wear a regular shoe?
This is dependent on the particular device provided. Shoe inserts and Prosthetic limbs generally do not require a different shoe. Some orthotic devices are intended to wear inside a shoe and having the correct size and style is important to the success of your device. This means you may need to acquire a shoe that is slightly larger to accommodate the brace without crowding the foot and causing potential sores. We can assist you with shoe selection.
Will my leg still bend?
Most devices allow for normal range of motion. However, depending on your orthopedic need and the item your physician ordered, restriction of knee or ankle motion may be necessary to accomplish the goals of the prescription.
Can I wear my knee brace on the outside of my pants?
While some may find wearing the knee brace over pants works best for their lifestyle, we recommend that most styles be worn on the skin. A knee brace is more likely to function properly and stay in the position if worn this way. A special knee sleeve is available to wear under the brace, to avoid direct skin contact, if you choose.
Can I drive with my brace/prosthesis?
We do not recommend driving with a prosthesis or brace on the driving foot. These devices make it more difficult to “feel” the pedals and may restrict range of motion at the ankle. Your orthotist or prosthetist will help you find a local vendor that can perform necessary automobile modifications so you can continue to drive safely.
How do I clean my device?
Most devices can be cleaned with soap and water or rubbing alcohol. You will be provided with specific cleaning instructions, as well as the opportunity to discuss additional options with your practitioner, at your appointment.
How long of a process is this?
Off-the-Shelf Orthotic Device: – In most cases, an off-the-shelf device can be fit in under an hour.
Custom Orthotic Device: – Custom orthotic devices require a
casting or measurement process, which typically can be completed in under an hour. Custom knee braces should be ready to deliver in approximately 3 weeks. Completion of all other custom orthotic devices can range from a day to over a week, depending on the complexity of your need. The fitting process is usually done in under an hour. Your practitioner can provide you with a more accurate timeline for your device at your initial appointment.
Prosthetic Devices: – Because prosthetic devices are custom fabricated, and have many different components, the process to fit takes time. Once your limb has healed, you will be molded for a test socket, which is the initial device you will be learning to walk on. In about a week, given your availability, you will be able to come in for a fitting. You may have to come back several times, depending on complications, availability, and tolerance to the device. Once it’s determined that the fit and alignment of the device are appropriate, the device will be “finished”. This process takes about a week. The total process time for the fit of a final prosthesis varies by individual, but an average time frame to consider is about a month.
Can you ship my device to me?
No, it’s necessary for a device to be assessed by a certified practitioner, in order to evaluate the fit and make any changes necessary to achieve the proper function. An in-person fitting is also required in order for us to remain an accredited facility.
What do I do if the device is bothering me once I get home?
Discontinue use immediately if there is any skin breakdown. Call our office immediately and discuss the issue with your practitioner. A resolution may be achieved over the phone or you may need to schedule an appointment for an adjustment.
How often will I have to come back to see you (for adjustments/follow up)? Or when should I come back to see you again?
Generally, follow up is scheduled as needed; if you are experiencing discomfort or skin irritation. However, on a device being used for long term, an annual follow up is encouraged to assess the fit and to ensure the device is still providing optimal support and function.
How much does a prosthesis weigh?
A common misconception is that a prosthesis is heavy. Usually a Below the Knee prosthesis weighs about 3.5-4.0 lbs and an Above the Knee prosthesis weighs about 7-9.5 lbs.
What do I do if I need to go through airport security?
Please see these tips: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/passengers-prosthetics
Why do I need to do a face-to-face visit with a Doctor for Diabetic Shoes? I see a Nurse Practitioner or Podiatrist.
This is not Aspire Prosthetics & Orthotics policy; it is a Medicare specific policy. Federal Statute requires a physician to follow a patient’s diabetic management program in order for Medicare to consider coverage of diabetic footwear and inserts. They put this rule in place to make sure patients are being seen for their diabetes on a regular basis. Unfortunately, it must be an MD (Medical Doctor) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy). If you chose to see someone other than an MD or DO, you may be held financially responsible for any diabetic items you wish to receive.
Do I need an appointment?
An appointment is preferred so that our clinicians can schedule the time to meet you at your doctor’s office, hospital, or home.
Can I reschedule my appointment?
Absolutely. Please call as soon as you know you will be unable to make the appointment and we will be happy to reschedule.
How much time will this appointment take?
This varies greatly depending on the service you require. More information can be provided to you upon scheduling an appointment.
Why do we need to sign an ABN?
Medicare and selected other insurances require us to notify you ahead of time, in writing, when a device won’t be covered. This is to protect you and keep you aware of any financial liability that you may incur.
Do I need a prescription and why?
Insurance companies require a prescription for all new devices and many replacement items that we supply. Additionally, we must follow certain standards in order to remain an accredited facility. One of these standards is to provide patient care according to a current prescription.
Can you just get all of my paperwork for me?
Because the existence of paperwork is directly related to a visit by you, it’s easier for you to obtain the paperwork. We can certainly request information from your physician, but we can’t force them to supply it to us.
Can you just call my doctor and tell him what you want?
No, your physician must let us know what it is that they would like us to do for you.