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The Next Step

A step-by-step guide to what you can expect following an recent amputation.

Following an amputation, your residual limb has a lot of edema (or swelling) that needs to be under control before we can start the prosthetic process. This is done by the application of an elastic sock that is called a shrinker. This will fit over your residual limb. You will begin the process by coming into our office weekly or biweekly, and on every visit measurements are taken and documented. This healing and shrinking process usually takes between 4-8 weeks. Once these measurements are consistent and your doctor says you are ready, we begin the next step. Once your residual limb has stabilized, an initial cast is taken. This is a plaster wrap done under vacuum that provides a detailed positive image of your residual limb. We will use this model to fabricate the socket of the prosthesis.

Once this socket is made and the components are attached, the prosthesis is now ready for fitting. This step of the process is called the "Dynamic Check Socket Fitting." The prosthetic socket is made of plastic to allow for adjustments if needed. During the check socket fitting, proper height and alignment adjustments are made to the prosthesis. The components are determined by what type of prosthesis best suits you, the patient. No two people are alike, and therefore require different systems. Your prosthetist will discuss with you your goals and hobbies and a custom prosthesis will be fabricated to your specific needs.

Once the prosthesis fits properly and alignment is established, you are allowed to walk in the "test socket" for a week or two to ensure a proper fit. When both you and the prosthetist are satisfied with the fit, we "finish out" the prosthesis. For the final step, the socket is laminated out of carbon fiber for a thinner, lighter weight prosthesis. At this time you can customize your prosthesis with colors and decals or choose to cover the prosthesis to make it appear more natural looking. The choice is up to you!

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