It’s never easy to adjust to life as an amputee. Even with a phenomenal health care team and an army of friends and family to support you, you will still be faced with many challenges, struggles and questions as you start your journey.
Today, Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions is here to clear up three common points of confusion for new amputees:
1) Prosthesis, prostheses, prosthetist—I thought it all referred to prosthetics?
The words we use to describe manufactured body parts come from Latin words, so they have some funny endings! A prosthesis is the singular noun that means “artificial body part.” The word prostheses is the plural of that word. A prosthetist is the clinician who will fit and fashion for you your prosthesis.
“Prosthetic” is an adjective to describe which limb is artificial. So, you could say “that’s a prosthetic leg,” but you wouldn’t say, “She wears a prosthetic,” without following up with which body part is a prosthesis.
2) When will I get to wear my prosthesis?
This all depends on your recovery time after surgery, but in general, you will have a temporary prosthesis a few weeks after the operation. For the next few months, your focus will be on healing. Once that has happened and any inflammation or swelling has subsided, we will fit you for a custom prosthesis.
Even then, it may be a while before you wear your prosthesis full time. You will need to learn how to perform day to day operations with it, which means undergoing several weeks or months of physical therapy.
3) I’ve heard of phantom limb pain. Will I get this?
It’s estimated that 80 percent of all amputees worldwide will deal with phantom limb pain at some point. Some people feel like they are crazy for experiencing it, but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
There are a number of different ways to combat phantom limb pain. Some of them include identifying what triggers your phantom limb pain and having a plan in place to counter it when it happens. Other methods include mirror box therapy, where you trick your mind into believing the limb is still there.
These are just a few of the common questions we receive from our patients. You can also check out the longer list of FAQs that we made. If you can’t find an answer to your question, you can always make an appointment with us to learn more about what to expect as a new amputee!