The Med Supply Orthotics and Prosthetics Division of Med Supply provides uncompromised care and unparalleled service, promoting the highest level of our patient’s recovery, independence and function. Having the proper prosthetic or orthotic device is essential to a patient’s recovery and return to a quality lifestyle. Here we have supplied a list of frequently asked questions regarding prosthetics provided by Mike Smith, Clinical Director & Prosthetist.

1. How long before I get my prosthesis?

Some people are ready for their temporary prosthesis as early as 2-weeks following the removal of all staples and sutures. This will vary from person to person. As a general rule, when the surgical site is fully healed and most of the swelling has disappeared, you will be ready for the next step. Each patient’s healing time differs depending on their overall health condition.

2. How often do I wear my stump shrinker?

You should wear your shrinker 23 hours per day (unless told differently by your physician) and change it every other day. If you do not have a second shrinker, another one can be purchased, usually through your insurance. Your shrinker should be removed when bathing, and if any numbness or tingling occurs; please contact your practitioner immediately. Med Supply carries the Juzo Silver Shrinker for Above Knee Amputees, and the Ossur Shrinker for Below Knee Amputees.

3. How long before I will be able to walk again?

Walking will vary because healing is different for each person. On average, healing time will range from 1-3 months. However, it could be longer for patients with diabetes or other health related issues. Your ability to walk is determined by how hard you work in therapy, and regain strength and range of motion.

4. Will I always have phantom pain/sensations?

Phantom pain will also vary from person to person. Some people never experience it, while others experience it from time to time forever. Often times when you are fit with your prosthesis, the pain or sensation may decrease due to the total contact provided by the socket. Sometimes, stump shrinkers also provide relief and there are a number of techniques that can be used to reduce phantom pains that your therapist will discuss with you.

5. Will I need therapy to learn how to use my prosthesis?

Physical and Occupational Therapy plays a very important part in your rehabilitation process. You will learn new techniques for walking which are key to a speedy recovery.

6. How long does it take to make and fit a prosthesis?

The fabrication of a prosthesis is a very labor intensive process, requiring multiple fittings to ensure the best fit. Insurance authorization also plays a key role in delivering a prosthetic device. Once authorization is obtained, it will take about 2 weeks, provided we can obtain all of the parts from manufacturers.

7. What is my prosthesis made of?

Med Supply Corporation uses state of the art materials and componentry. This includes plastics, acrylics, polyester laminates, titanium, carbon graphite, aluminum and steel. The type of componentry used will be customized based on weight capacity and what is best for your optimal function. Insurance coverage also will determine what type of componentry will be used.

8. How much does a prosthesis cost?

The prosthetic industry is constantly changing and improving the componentry and fabrication of prosthetic limbs. A comprehensive range would be $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the individual needs of each person. Microchip computer technology is one of the most recent additions and can cost upwards of $50,000. Insurance coverage plays a large part in determining the cost. It is important to inquire about your co-pays and deductibles prior to being serviced so that you are fully aware of any out-of-pocket cost you may incur.

9. How long will I be wearing a temporary prosthesis?

On average, most patients will wear a temporary prosthesis for 6 months to 1 year depending on how quickly the residual limb stabilizes.

10. How much physical energy will I be exerting with my prosthesis?

Below knee amputee – 9% more energy than a non-amputee
Above knee amputee – 60% more energy than a non-amputee
Bilateral below knee amputee – 180% more energy than a non-amputee
Bilateral above knee amputee – 260% more energy than a non-amputee

11. Will my residual limb change size?

Yes, your residual limb will shrink as the swelling goes down and will change from a bulbous shape to a thinner, cone like shape. There are various methods used for reducing the swelling that include wrapping the limb, and exercises.

12. How often should I wash my liner?

Your liner should be washed every night. Make sure it is cleaned thoroughly to remove any layers of bacteria/dirt build-up. In addition, you should disinfect your liner once a week by cleaning it with rubbing alcohol.

13. Do I have to come into the office to be seen?

Not necessarily, however, better and more efficient service can be provided when we see patients in our office. This allows us to access the tools in our lab and allows us to make adjustments to your prosthesis quickly and efficiently. If transportation and/or physical challenges are difficult for you, a home visit can be arranged by calling our office.

14. What renovations will have to be made to my home?

The number of renovations to your home will depend upon your personal needs. Many patients will need a shower chair (Med Supply carries a number of options which can be found here), detachable shower head and grab rails for the bathroom. You may also need to consider a ramp for the entrance to your home.

15. Will I still be able to participate in sports?

Yes, there are amputees involved in just about every sport. If you have participated in sports prior to your amputation, you can probably continue afterwards. Many sports have organized programs for amputees. Please be sure and let your prosthetist know about your desire to play sports, so they can design your prosthesis with that in mind. Most sport-specific prosthetics are not covered by insurance, you may incur an out-of-pocket cost.

16. Why does my training/temporary prosthesis not have a cosmetic cover?

Insurance companies know that the temporary prosthesis is a short-term prosthesis, and therefore will not cover a cosmetic cover being added.

17. Can prosthesis sockets be customized?

Speak with your Prosthetist about this, Med Supply will work with you to customize your prosthesis to your liking!