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News

George Newton, CPO, Attend Scientific Symposium



George Newton, CPO, and President of Advanced P&O of the Pacific, attended the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists 40th Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium in Chicago, Feb. 26- March 1.

The annual meeting provides an opportunity to attend educational and technical sessions, which help further enhance patient care. In addition, George was able to visit with manufacturers to learn about new and existing products for orthotic and prosthetic patients.


Newsletter: Volume 1, Number 1


Frequently Asked Questions

What does a prosthesis look like? How will it stay on?

Depending on the level of your amputation, physical ability and functional needs, each prosthesis will be somewhat different. If you desire a "cosmetic look," prosthetic supplements are available. But, for most standard prostheses, they are comprised of conventional component parts attached to a socket that fits over your residual limb.


How does a prosthesis work? Will I be able to do all the things I did before I lost my limb?

The majority of people who lose a limb can get back to a normal mode of functioning within a few to several months, depending on the location of the amputation as well as physical ability. How well they function depends primarily on their goals along with timely, comfortable prosthetic fitting, good follow-up care, and a "can do" attitude from themselves as well as their medical team.


When will I get a prosthesis?

Generally, you should be ready for prosthetic measurements and fitting a few weeks after surgery, when the wound is healed and the tissue swelling is decreased. Then you will be ready for prosthetic measurements and fitting. This process can be accelerated easily with exercise and rehabilitation. During this stage, your medical team also will be concerned with maintaining proper shape of the residual limb, as well as increasing overall strength and function. Fitting is usually stress-free and involves several steps to create a unique prosthesis for you.


What if the prosthesis doesn't fit right?

Follow-up is as important as the initial fitting. You will need to make several visits for adjustments with the prosthetist as well as training with a therapist. They can help you ease pressure areas, adjust alignment, work out any problems, and regain the skills you need to adapt to life after limb loss. Tell your prosthetist if the manufactured limb is uncomfortable, too loose or too tight. The more you communicate with your prosthetist and therapist, the better you will be able to succeed with a prosthesis.

How long will the prosthesis last?

Depending on your age, activity level and growth, the prosthesis can last anywhere from several months to several years. In the early stages after limb loss, many changes occur in the residual limb that can lead to shrinking of the limb. This may require socket changes, the addition of liners, or even a different device. Later on, increased activity level and desire for additional function can necessitate a change in the prosthesis or its parts. Once you are comfortably adjusted and functioning at the desired level of activity, the prosthesis needs only minor repairs or maintenance and can last for an average of three years.


Is it difficult learning to use a prosthesis?

Learning to use a prosthesis is a tough job. It takes time, great effort, strength, patience and perseverance. You will do best to work with a therapist while learning how to handle the new device. Much like learning how to operate a car, you will need guidance on how to:

  • take care of the prosthesis
  • put on (don) and take off (doff) the prosthesis
  • walk on different types of surfaces, including stairs and uneven terrain
  • handle emergencies safely, including falling down and getting up again
  • perform daily activities at home, at work and even in a car
  • investigate new things you may be uncertain of, including sports and recreational activities.

What can I do to prepare myself for a prosthesis?

There is a lot you can and must do to be able to use a prosthesis and use it well. The top priorities are:

  • working through the feelings about losing a limb and deciding how to rebuild your life after amputation
  • exercising to build the muscles needed for balance and ambulation
  • preparing and taking care of your residual limb to attain a proper, sound shape for the prosthesis
  • learning proper body positioning and strengthening, to maintain tone and prevent contractures.


Will I need to use a wheelchair or crutches?

Some people choose not to use a prosthesis, relying exclusively on mobility devices. However, with a prosthesis, the use of crutches or a wheelchair depends on several factors including level of amputation, whether you have a single or bilateral amputation, and your respective level of balance and strength. Most amputees have a pair of crutches for times when the limb is off, including nighttime trips to the bathroom, showering, participating in certain sports, and to help if problems arise that may require leaving the prosthesis off for any length of time. If you are a person who has lost both legs, you will probably use a wheelchair at least some of the time. Unilateral amputees may find it helpful to use a cane or crutches for balance and support in the early stages of walking or just to have a break from the prosthesis. This is an individual decision based on factors such as age, balance, strength and sense of security.


Can the limb break down?

Yes, things can happen that will require repair or replacement, so it's a good idea to know about warranties and what to expect from your prosthetist. Get small problems with your prosthesis taken care of promptly. There is no benefit to waiting until something falls apart or causes you serious skin breakdown. If you wear a prosthesis too long when it needs repairs or replacement, you can do harm, not only to your residual limb, but also to other parts of your body. Strain on other muscles, especially in your back and shoulders, will affect posture in addition to performance of the device and energy needed to use it. Early prevention is more valuable than long-term treatment.


*Source: The National Limb Loss Information Center (NLLIC), operated by the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA).


Resources

Patient Resources


HIPAA Privacy Notice

A Manual for Above-Knee Amputees

American Amputee Foundation (AAF)

American Diabetes Association

Amputee Coalition of America (ACA)

Association of Children's Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics (ACPOC)

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Child Amputee Home Page

Easter Seals

Ertl Reconstruction

Exceptional Parent

Family Friendly Fun and Special Needs Resources

Farabloc Pain Management Clothing and Products

Information About Diabetes

International Child Amputee Network

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International

LimbDifferences.org

MUMS National Parent-to-Parent Network

National Center on Physical Activity and Disability

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

Northwestern Rehabilitation Engineering and Prosthetics Online

Online Resource for Orthotics and Prosthetic Information

Orthotic and Prosthetic Assistance Fund

Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER)


Patient Information


Prosthetic Research Study

Spinal Cord Injury Information Network

Stance Control Knee Joint

Visible Human Project

Wounded Warrior Project (WWP)


Sports/Mobility


Cape Ability Outrigger Ohana, Inc

U.S. Paralympics


Professional Organizations


American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP)

American Board for Certification (ABC)

American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA)

Association of Children's Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics (ACPOC)

International Society for Prosthetics & Orthotics (ISPO)

National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education