This blog post will inform/guide you how to prepare yourself for your upcoming amputation. If you’re a new amputee hopefully this post will give you some insight in what to expect and how to deal with your expectations not being met….. Because ultimately you will not be as mobile as you’re told you will be and that can be a source of frustration. I will provide you with some things you can do to prepare for your amputation. Things such as researching good prosthetic companies. Investigating what prosthetic equipment might work best for you and your mobility needs.
Keep in mind what works for one amputee may not work for you. It’s sad to say this but it’s going to be a lot of trial and error, hit and miss, until you find the combination of equipment that works for you and your mobility needs. And that brings me to my very first piece of information/advice, you must find a prosthetic company that employees a Prosthetist who will listen to you and pay attention to what you tell them your mobility needs are going to be when you become an amputee. It’s vitally important that your Prosthetist listens to what you tell them.
A Prosthetist is the person who will measure you for your first prosthetic leg/socket combination. They will also counsel you on what would be the best equipment for you to use for your first prosthetic leg. I say prosthetic leg but this information I provide can also work for prosthetic fingers prosthetic arms and other prosthetic equipment that I am not aware of. I’m pretty sure any part of the body can be made into a prosthetic to include toes, feet, fingers, as well as arms. I focus on prosthetic legs because that’s what I have. I am what’s known as a right below knee amputee.
The image above shows my prosthetic leg. It consists of a foot which is inside the shoe, the socket which is the part that has the image laminated on it, and the rod, (black pipe), which connects the foot to the socket. Your residual limb will fit inside that socket and connect by way of a pin, called the Pin Locking System, which will slide into the socket and click into place securely. This particular socket is what’s known as a “Revo Fit” socket. This socket has two knobs, one located on the side and one in the back, that help adjust the fit. For me this type of socket works best and I’ll explain why later. The most important thing about a prosthetic leg is that the socket must be comfortable, there must be no pain whatsoever, it must fit so you can walk in it as close to normal as possible. Working with your Prosthetist to get the perfect fit is vitally important.
Revo Fit sockets works best for me because every amputee will have fluid buildup in the leg or your residual limb. Your limb will fluctuate in size over the course of a 24-hour period. When you wake up in the morning your residual limb will be one size when you put on your socket, it will be tight and feel like a compression. Overtime throughout the day while you wear your socket that tightness will reduce the residual limb because the fluid will leave that area. Until you’ve had your socket for about 3 years, daily use of your prosthetic socket will reduce swelling in your limb and you will have to adjust the fit. Don’t be alarmed because this is very normal with most every amputee. In my case my residual limb fluctuated quite a bit during the day and the swelling was reduced at a faster rate than normal. I needed a new socket every 3 months until I discovered the Revo Fits adjustability.
I mentioned the Pin Locking System which is shown above. There is also a system known as the Suction System which uses suction to hold the socket onto the residual limb. The Suction System has manual suction or a pump machine created suction. I’ve had my amputation for 3 years and in that time I have tried all three systems and for me the Pin Locking System with the Revo Fit socket works best. But once again what works for me may not work for you. That is why it’s vitally important you get a Prosthetist who will listen to you and inform you of every option available.
Before your amputation and while you are at home healing after the surgery, it’s important that you do your research about everything that is out there in the amputation world and available to you. I had The misfortune of going through three different prosthetic companies before I found one that worked for me. It has to be a good fit for a prosthetic company and a Prosthesis like it is finding the right fit for a doctor, a mechanic or a barber/beauty salon operator. That perfect fit is so very important because you have to find someone who will listen to what you tell them and not think they know it all. I have not run across a Prosthetist who is an amputee. If you’re a Prosthetist and you’re building prosthetic legs and sockets for clients WHO ARE AMPUTEES, you have to take the word and advice of the person you’re building it for because you’ve never worn a Prosthesis.
Let me warn you also that you’re going to have some problems with your insurance company approving the things you need. That is a fact of dealing with insurance companies. Try to find an insurance company that is going to cater to your needs. Every insurance company has protocols in place for things like how often you can get a new socket, how often you can upgrade from older equipment to newer, better equipment. This is a fact of life when dealing with insurance companies. No insurance company wants to spend money they classify as unnecessary. What’s unnecessary to an insurance executive is very necessary for you. I’m warning you that there will be some denials by your insurance company for equipment you need. And here’s a heads up, every insurance company will need your doctor to write a prescription for equipment. One more piece of advice: get yourself a good orthopedic doctor to write your prescriptions and do your exams.
On Twitter my account handle is @MrJBRBKA so if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a tweet or DM me for private conversations. At some point I plan to hold weekly Twitter Spaces to get together and talk, chill, answer any questions you might have about being, becoming, an Amputee. I hope this blog post was informative and gave you some insight in what to look for on your journey ahead. As always I appreciate you reading Just Another Blog From Just Another Blogger. Me. 🦴🦾🦿