Getting a prosthesis is a collaborative, multi-step process. Prosthetics are custom made for your individual limb and the activity goals you've set for your amputation rehabilitation.
At the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopedics Institute, our team of experts, including a certified prosthetist, will consider your needs from all angles and help you navigate this crucial process.
The preparation for prosthetics begins by developing strength, balance, coordination and other skills needed to use an artificial limb successfully.
Training for people who have had a lower-extremity amputation means walking and improving function and balance training. For people with upper limb amputations, this training involves developing the coordination necessary to conduct activities of daily living.
While you may start the prosthetic selection process as an inpatient, much of the work of fitting and training may be done on an outpatient basis.
Here is a general timeline following the surgical procedure:
Wound Healing and Limb Shaping
After your wound has healed sufficiently (the time this takes will vary), your doctor will clear you to use a compression sock to shape the residual limb in preparation for a prosthesis.
Once your residual limb is ready, you will receive a temporary prosthesis. Over 4 to 6 weeks, you will make several visits to your prosthetist’s office to have a mold made of your limb and have adjustments made to the device.
Physical or Occupational Therapy
Physical or occupational therapy with your temporary prosthesis occurs regularly over 4 to 6 months. During this time you will gradually increase your prosthesis wearing schedule until you are able to wear it for the whole day.
When you are ready for a permanent prosthesis, you will undergo the same 4- to 6-week process of customization and adjustment with your prosthetist. Because this is a long-term, custom-made device, you will get the best results by working with your whole rehabilitation therapy team. While the prosthesis is referred to as permanent, it’s important to understand that people typically require more than one during their lifetime.
To learn more about the outpatient services for amputation recovery, contact us at 410-448-6383.