The following information provides you with an idea of what you can expect when in the care of Valley Prosthetics & Orthotics.
Some of our patients come to us prior to their amputation. This can be the result of a severe trauma, diabetic-related wound or deformity, or a congenital birth deformity. We provide a functional, prosthetic-outcome-related resource for you to speak with, so a more informed decision can be made prior to surgery. This also allows you to ask all the questions you might have regarding life after amputation and what to expect. Having a pre-op consult also gives you time to interview the Certified Prosthetist you will be developing a relationship with. The goal of all this is an improved prosthetic following the surgical procedure.
After the surgical procedure, you will follow the surgical protocols set forth by the physician. This may include, but is not limited to, post-surgical dressings, physical therapy, and possibly immediate post-op prosthetic fittings for low-risk patients.
At the initial visit with the prosthetist following your operation, we will do a thorough evaluation which will include measurements and images to document your progress. Your goals will be discussed and determined. Also at this appointment, you will be fitted with a "shrinker," if this wasn't done already. A shrinker is a compressive sock which replaces the Ace bandage. The shrinker assists in the process of shaping your amputated limb, making it easier to utilize your new "preparatory prosthesis."
Normally, following a week in the shrinker, you are ready to be casted for your new prosthesis. With this cast or digital scan, we will construct the socket portion of your new leg. This initial prosthesis is often explained as your "Training Leg." The goal is to get you back up and walking. This allows multiple things to happen, including continued shaping/shrinking of your limb over time, rebuilding of strength and balance, and most of all, returning back to your life on two feet!
Typically, in one week, we will have you back into the office. This will be the day when you will be up and walking! We encourage your family members to be a part of your appointments, but especially today! Expect for it to feel "different." You have never worn a prosthesis, let alone walked on one. We will go over all the basics, including how to manage it at home. Yet another reason to bring a family member along!
Remember the talk of your limb changing shape? It's a definite! Between your increased walking, the compression of the socket on your leg, and just the body’s normal healing process, your leg will shrink. That is one of the reasons for routine follow-ups. Other reasons include adjustments to the alignment, modifications to the fit of the socket, and answering those questions that you never thought of in the beginning of the process.
After 4 to 8 months, your body will have changed the shape of your limb to the point that we need to move you into a new prosthesis. This is known as the "Definitive Prosthesis." With this prosthesis, we begin the measurement process all over again. Following a reevaluation by your physician, we remeasure your limb, order new components, and additionally, if your activity level warrants it, improve the functional capacity of the foot/knee you will be wearing. You can also choose either to cover it to mimic the aesthetics of your other leg or to leave it "bare" and show off your leg with some custom lamination designs.
This is a new step in the process. Due to our goal of making this leg as intimate a fit as possible, we do a clear "diagnostic/test" socket fitting. This allows us to determine if there is any need for improvements prior to the final lamination of the prosthesis. We will have you walk on this socket to make sure that the fit is appropriate.
This is the day when you have "graduated." You have made it through the tough initial process of being a new amputee. Your body has changed its shape. Your strength and balance have improved. Now you are ready to show off your new leg and skills! What an accomplishment! Now to get on with life!
You will still need to come and see us on a routine basis as you continue to live your life. Your limb will continue to slowly change shape as time goes on. This requires us to adjust the fit of your prosthesis. We want you to have the best possible prosthetic outcome! We love hearing about the accomplishments of our patients! Welcome to our family!
Call our office to schedule an appointment or request to have a clinician visit you or your family member at the hospital where you are staying.