1. Do I need a prescription from a physician?
Yes, each of our patients are required to have a physician's prescription before we can fabricate a prosthesis or orthosis.
2. Are your practitioners and technicians ABC certified?
Yes. Our practitioners are among the best educated in the O&P field. International Prosthetics and Orthotics only employs Practitioners that are certified by the American Board for Certification or working to complete their residency.
3. How long will it take to get my prosthesis?
It typically takes approximately one month for delivery of a new prosthesis for a new amputee. That month usually consists of 3-4 visits to our office. The first visit consists of residual limb measurements and a plaster cast impression. During the second and sometimes the third a patient is fit with a "test socket". This is a clear plastic socket we use as a diagnostic tool to achieve maximum comfort in fitting. During this visit we will also have the patient start to take a few steps and we'll align the prosthesis to give them the best gait pattern possible. At the next visit, the prosthesis will be delivered, usually in a temporary form, meaning there is no cosmetic cover. The patient is then ready for physical therapy, at which time we will continually monitor the progress and make any necessary adjustments to the prosthesis. Once physical therapy is complete, the temporary prosthesis is usually used for 3-6 months before a definitive prosthesis is fabricated.
4. Is my prosthesis/orthosis covered by my insurance?
This all depends on your employer, type of coverage, your age, and other factors. Those eligible for Medicare typically have most of the expenses for the prosthesis/orthosis covered. If you are insured individually or by your employer, you should check your specific policy.
5. Will my residual limb shrink?
Yes. Immediately following your amputation surgery your residual limb will be swollen and have a bulbous shape. Over time, it will shrink down to a more cosmetically pleasing cylindrical or conical shape. The most common method of aiding in the residual limb shrinkage is an ace bandage or a stump shrinker. The ace bandage is wrapped in a figure 8 around the limb. A shrinker is an elastic sock that fits very snug around the limb. Both are very effective ways of encouraging shrinking and reducing swelling.
6. Will I be able to go back to work?
Many amputees are able to return to their current jobs without any complications. Some may need to change job description and others may change jobs completely. You should speak to your employer about your intentions and capabilities. If your amputation has disabled you to the extent that future employment is impossible, you could be eligible for disability related benefits from the Social Security Administration.
7. Can I purchase an off the shelf brace instead of getting something custom?
This is dependent upon the patient. If a physician has referred you to us and recommended a specific type of orthosis, you generally need something custom fabricated. Our staff is highly qualified to fabricate most types of custom Orthotic devices. These devices are usually more beneficial than those purchased off the shelf.
8. Will wearing the brace affect my skin?
While wearing any type of Orthotic device you must take good care of you skin to prevent skin breakdown. Skin breakdown can be any type of sore, red, raw, or blistered areas on the skin. To avoid skin breakdown you should: bathe or shower on a daily basis, keep the orthosis clean with mild soap and water or non-toxic cleaner, avoid skin creams or lotions under the orthosis. If you experience skin breakdown, contact your physician immediately.
9. Can I fix or adjust the Orthotic device myself?
No. Attempting to fix or make adjustments to an orthosis yourself can lead to personal injury or possible damage the orthosis. If you feel an adjustment needs to be made, or the orthosis is damaged in any way contact your Orthotist immediately.
10. How long will my brace last?
This will depend largely on the age and activity level of the individual patient. A higher activity level patient will normally put more "wear and tear" on the orthosis, meaning a patient who is very active will need a replacement sooner than one who is inactive. Additionally, when an orthosis is fit to a younger patient it will need to be replaced more often because they generally grow very quickly.