Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I make an appointment?
A: Please call the clinic location closest to you or call 888-810-6220.
Q: What do I need to bring with me to an appointment?
A: Please bring all insurance information, shoes, past prosthetic devices, and any medical correspondence that may be relevant to your care so that we can determine the best possible plan of care.
Q: Does insurance cover prosthetic services?
A: Most insurance companies do cover prosthetic services. The types of services they cover and the amount of coverage depends on your insurance and benefits.
Q: How long will it take to create my device?
A: The type of device needed and its design dictate the amount of time it takes to fit and fabricate a device. However, the majority of our patients are scanned, test fit, and delivered a custom prosthesis in just one day!
Q: How soon after an amputation can I expect to be fitted with a prosthesis?
A: Your residual limb must be completely healed prior to being fitted with your prosthesis. We suggest that you be fitted with a “shrinker” as soon as your doctor clears you. A prosthetic shrinker is an elastic sock that fits around your residual limb and helps decrease the edema or swelling of your leg in preparation for prosthetic fitting. Once all documentation and supplies are received, we can fit you with the prosthesis in one day!
Q: How do I prepare my body for wearing a prosthesis?
A: Exercise is important in increasing your overall strength and 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.
Q: What prosthesis is best for me?
A: 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 of your residual limb, overall medical and physical condition, previous activity level and lifestyle, commitment, and financial situation. Discuss your interests, lifestyle, work, and goals with your prosthetist so they can design a prosthesis that provides the highest level of function and independence possible.
Q: How is my prosthesis made?
A: Your prosthesis is made up of many different components selected specifically for you and your lifestyle. Your prosthetist begins by using a 3-D scanner to capture the size and shape of your residual limb. From the scan, a model 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 limb as closely as possible.
Q: Do I wear it to sleep?
A: No. Prosthetics are designed to be worn during the day, while you are awake. We recommend that you wear a “shrinker” on your residual limb at night to maintain the shape and configuration and help reduce edema and swelling of the residual limb.
Q: Can I wear my prosthesis with different shoes?
A: Your prosthesis is aligned for a particular type of shoe and heel height. The alignment of the prosthesis affects its stability and the ease of taking steps. Consult your Prosthetist before changing to shoes that have a significant difference in heel height.
Q: How do I learn to use my prosthesis?
A: 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.
Q: Will I need physical therapy?
A: Although physical therapy is not required, we do recommend it after you receive your initial prosthesis. A physical therapist can help you learn to walk efficiently with your new limb, expediting the rehabilitation process. The physical therapist will work with you on maintaining your balance, strengthening your limb, and improving your gait pattern. We also recommend physical therapy if your condition changes or you obtain a new prosthesis.
Q: What will my prosthesis look like?
A: Prostheses can either look like an anatomical leg or can be designed to be an expression of your personality. We often design prostheses with cosmetic covers or soft covers that go over the socket, mid-calf, knee, thigh area, and foot so they look anatomically correct. Alternatively, we can apply a design of your choosing.
Q: How do I clean the prosthesis?
A: Hygiene is very important in prosthetic care, particularly against the skin. We suggest that you wash your skin daily with soap and water. You should wash the liner and suspension sleeve of your prosthesis daily to decrease accumulation of bacteria, which can cause infections.
Q: What should I know about maintaining and cleaning my prosthesis?
A: Your prosthesis can be wiped out daily with a damp cloth and anti-bacterial soap. Your prosthetist will thoroughly explain the care and maintenance of each component of your prosthesis. See more maintenance and care tips in the “Care & Use of Your Device” section.