Prosthesis Fitting Process:
Surgery & Healing
Understanding the fitting process will only improve your outcome. You prosthetic care will occur in conjunction with other stages of care such as healing and physical therapy. Prosthetic care, in most cases, begins within days of surgery. Your doctors will have a Prosthetist provide a Rigid Removable Dressing, or RRD, for residual limb. The RRD provides protection to the residual limb as it heals and helps to prevent knee joint contractures. Once the limb is fully healed and the sutures have been removed the doctor will write a prescription for the patient to begin prosthetic evaluation and fitting.
The first step to fit the patient with a compressive garment called a “Shrinker”. The shrinker is worn on the residual limb for 1-2 weeks to reduce swelling and prepare the limb for fitting.
Evaluation & Casting
Once the limb is appropriately shaped, your Prosthetist will take measurements and a cast of the limb. The casting procedure allows your Prosthetist to capture the shape of our limb for custom fabrication. You and your Prosthetist will discuss the many options available to you in prosthetic componentry and design.
This appointment is a test-fitting. You will put on a diagnostic prosthesis for the first time. Your Prosthetist will adjust and modify the diagnostic prosthesis to ensure optimal fit and function. In most cases only 2-3 diagnostic fittings are needed. You will use the prosthesis at home and at physical therapy for a short trial period in between diagnostic fittings.
Once the diagnostic fittings are complete a final prosthesis will be fabricated. During the Final Fitting your Prosthetist will verify the fit and function of your custom-fit device so that it is ready for daily use.
Plan to return for routine follow up appointments at 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months. Also, keep in mind that our bodies change over time. The need for adjustments is very common, especially during first year following your first fitting. Addressing the need for adjustments promptly can help to prevent frustrating setbacks.
Orthosis Fitting Process:
Regardless of the type of orthosis you require, your first appointment is an evaluation during which you and the Orthotist determine the most appropriate device to address your needs. An itemized prescription will then be submitted to your prescribing doctor and our staff will seek authorization from your insurance company.
Once authorization has been received from your insurance company, you will be notified whether or not you will have an out-of-pocket portion. At that time you make your decision on whether or not you want to proceed with obtaining the orthosis.
Your Orthotist will take measurements and a cast of the limb. The casting procedure allows your Orthotist to capture the shape of our limb for custom fabrication.
At your next scheduled appointment, you will be fit with your orthosis; custom or prefabricated. Final adjustments and modifications will be made if necessary.
After fitting, we will schedule incremental follow up visits to monitor and maintain the optimal fit and function of your prescribed orthosis.
Keys to Success:
Stay Connected to a Doctor
We are required to have a Doctor’s prescription for everything we do. Maintaining a good relationship with your doctor and keeping them updated on your care is very important. We will work to promote communication and teamwork with your doctor to provide the most efficient care possible.
Gait Training in physical therapy is one of the greatest factors in your rehabilitation outcome. Learning to use a prosthesis requires increasing strength, balance, and stamina. Make sure your PT has experience in Prosthetic Gait Training.
View the orthosis or prosthesis as a tool and learn to use it as such. Technology is advancing but be realistic about your device. An orthosis or prosthesis is designed to assist you; it cannot make a miraculous or instantaneous change.
The single greatest factor in your success is you. Stay motivated. Set goals and work with your Doctor, PT and Orthotist or Prosthetist to develop a plan to achieve them. Keep a journal to track your progress.
Experimentation & Diligence
Living with an orthosis or prosthesis is a constantly ongoing process to maintain function and adapt the device as the body changes. The limb may change volume dramatically within any given day. Become experimental to find out what works best for you. Practice good hygiene. Do not procrastinate addressing a fitting issue. Ignoring a problem for even a day can result in an extended set-back.