How Long After Amputation Before Prosthetic (And Why)?

Exact Answer: After about 2-3 weeks

Amputation of a limb is the extreme treatment of an orthopedic problem. This can be painful physically as well as mentally. Physicians usually try to save the upper or lower limb as this can be a punishment for life. But if the infection goes to a higher extent, they will have no option but to amputate the limb. Amputation can cause physical and mental trauma simultaneously.

Before fitting a prosthesis, the patient should be mentally stable and acceptable about the prosthesis. Generally, people hesitate to adopt a new thing. It takes time to make yourself understand that this is going to be a part of your body now.

How Long After Amputation Before Prosthetic?

TypeTime
Normal case2 weeks
In cases of severe injury3 weeks

Before fitment of a prosthesis, the patient has to go through many procedures such as

1) Patient Assessment
PMRD doctors and clinical prosthetists thoroughly assess the patient before giving the prescription about which prosthesis should be given. They examine the stump length, stump condition, medical history, personal factor, medical factor, prosthetic factor.

2) Pre fitment treatment
Before giving the prosthesis, the physician checks if there are any muscular abnormalities, ligamental laxity, or any pain at the distal end. Then the patient has to go through a session of physiotherapy to treat all those medical problems. This whole process is called pre-fitment treatment. This also includes sterilization of infection.

3) Prosthesis fabrication
With the proper measurements and examination, the prosthetist fabricates the prosthesis that fulfills the patient’s basic need: the cosmesis and the biomechanical comfort. It should be aligned properly so that the energy consumption will be less while using this prosthesis. This is the main step towards proper treatment.

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4) Gait training
To adapt to the prosthesis, the patient has to go through required gait training. First, he gets to learn how to stand erect with the prosthesis in weight-bearing mode. Any pain or any discomfort is checked during this procedure. Then he slowly learns how to walk with support and without support.

5) Proper follow up
Once the training is done patient can go home with the prosthesis but he needs to take care of some problems like hygiene and comfort. And after 3 months he must consult a fellow physician to know the progress with the prosthesis.

Why Should One Wait So Long For Prosthetic After Amputation?

The answer to this question can be of various types. First of all the amputated limb needs to heal properly before the fitment of any prosthesis. There could be more than one cause for amputation like road traffic accidents, diabetes, cancer, any congenital disease, autonomic disorder, infection, orthopedic problems, and many more. So all these causes needed to be studied thoroughly and given the right treatment before giving any of the prostheses.

If there is any sinus leakage from stitches then it needs to be dry, otherwise, it will lead to infection. There can be phantom limb pain (an unusual distracting pain in which the patient can feel the amputated limb although it’s not there). Phantom limb pain mostly psychological pain. Treatment of scars and stitches is required to avoid any infection. The skin condition is checked whether it’s sensitive or not.

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The muscle condition is checked if there is any swollen part left which can be treated by compression bandage or crepe bandage. Otherwise, this will cause loosening of the prosthesis after few days. Edema should be checked and treated properly. Fabrication of the prosthesis will also take time. Time consumption will be worth it because the prosthesis needs to be done with precision and correct measurements otherwise it will show a biomechanical deficit of the prosthesis and there will be gait deviation.

And gait deviation eventually leads to more energy consumption or expenditure. The alignment should be perfect to match the center of gravity and weight line of the body. All these procedures will take time.

Conclusion

The main summary of all the knowledge is that a person who went through an amputation needs a certain amount of time to stabilize himself/herself physically and mentally for the fitment of the prosthesis. Sometimes a child amputee can adapt the prosthesis more easily and an old age amputee or geriatric amputee takes time. Most of the time adult Amputees need some amount of counseling to adapt to the prosthesis.

The counselor tries to understand the amputee about the benefits of having a prosthesis and how it can help you to go through a normal life again doing daily household activities and not depend on any person. So with time, the amputee not only gets physically healed but also becomes mentally strong.

Reference

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0363502398801512
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3109/03093640409167920
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