Prosthetic myths busted

Amputation is not something new in Personal Injury or Clinical negligence cases, but eliminating some myths on prosthetics and amputation can ensure that clients receive a substantial win for them to continue living fulfilled lives! Below Abdo Haidar, Consultant Prosthetist at The London Prosthetics Centre covers the 3 main myths.

MYTH 1: One size fits all

With an average prosthetic use of 10 hours per day, the most frequent problems occurring in residual limbs are discomfort, skin breakdown and pain. Comfort has been stated as the most important factor among prosthetic limb users.

When a limb has been amputated, the stump or residual limb is different from one person to the next. The most fundamental element in the creation of a prosthetic is the socket; the crucial interface that connects these sophisticated prosthetics to peoples’ residual limbs.

The prosthetic limb may be fitted with the most technological advancements but the socket remains the real point of contact.

Different measuring techniques are used in the industry at present to capture the size and shape of residual limbs. These techniques remain limited and are unable to identify the infrastructure of residual limbs and pressure tolerance of individual amputees.

It can be a time-consuming process, involving the production of multiple diagnostic sockets before a well-fitted socket can be achieved, during which each diagnostic socket is modified according to the feedback of the patient and the clinical assessment of the prosthetist. As a result, the design of a prosthetic socket is still basically an art, which is highly dependent on the experiences and skills of the prosthetist.

MYTH 2: One limb for life

The residual limb changes constantly in an amputee’s life, some of these factors include growth, ageing, muscle atrophy, weight addition or loss e.g. from teenager to adulthood to elderly. Therefore a prosthesis must be constantly adapted or changed to ensure comfort and mobility is achieved on a daily basis.

Even the most expensive prosthetic limbs are built to withstand only three to six years of mechanical wear and tear, meaning they will need to be replaced many times over the course of a lifetime, and they're not a one-time cost.

The prosthetist works in close partnership with the patient to establish the right prosthetic for them and their lifestyle. Sport, day to day walking or waterproof prosthetic legs are required for most amputees to complement their activity and mobility levels.

MYTH 3: Amputees only see their prosthetist at the fitting

An amputee will need to visit their prosthetist for the rest of their lives. From the first consultation, they will be required to visit the prosthetist once a month to ensure the comfort of the new socket and learn to adjust to the limb properly. Thereafter, it may be once every 6 months to ensure the prosthesis is in good working order and most importantly as their lifestyle changes so does the residual limb, so does the socket.

An important part of an amputee’s care is rehabilitation, this can range from psychological counselling if needed, occupational therapy to physiotherapy. Rehabilitation is vital for the amputee to learn to cope with the changes in their life, be it from a psychological aspect to learning how to walk with their new limb and to prevent additional muscular damage for overcompensation. There is no definitive timescale for rehabilitation, this depends entirely on the level of amputation and how soon they can learn to become mobile. With the right support and care, the client will be equipped with the tools they need to continue living life to the full.

We hope this article has helped to clear up some of the myths surrounding prosthetics and given you some fresh new insight.

About the London Prosthetic Centre

LPC are leading experts in cutting edge upper and lower limb prosthetics, including custom silicone cosmesis products. 

Our ultimate purpose is to create the turning points that enhance the lives of our patients – helping them to take back control of their world and achieve new and amazing things with their new custom-made prosthetics.

The team is led by Director/ Consultant Prosthetist, Abdo Haidar who specialises in upper and lower limb prosthetics, with over 20 years of NHS and private experience. A member of The Expert Witness Institute and has prepared many expert witness reports following amputations.

If you have any questions regarding prosthetics then please get in touch at claimsadvice@boyesturner.com.

 

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

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