Thursday, December 23, 2010

How to Find a Prosthetist

In many ways, the relationship that the amputee develops with his or her prosthetist is more important than the one which was developed with the surgeon. Once the limb has been stabilized and is healthy, the surgeon plays a minimal role in the amputee's life. The prosthetist often becomes the first line of defense against residual limb issues, and the surgeon contacted only when all other remedies have been tried and have been deemed unsuccessful.

Choosing a prosthetist can feel daunting. It is often helpful to begin your search by asking several amputees in your area who they use. Be sure to ask if they are pleased with the care they are receiving; it is surprising how many amputees are not satisfied with their prosthetic care.

Utilize the initial consultation to ask questions and to learn about the philosophy of the practice. Remember that you are the client and that you are conducting the interview. It may be helpful to have your questions written down before the consultation. The following questions might help guide your interview.

1. Where are the prosthetics manufactured and maintained? Does the practice have the ability to create the devices in-house or are they prepared by a third party?

At OPC the prosthetics are manufactured on site. "In house" production reduces the time an amputee must wait to receive the prosthesis. We understand the importance of a prosthesis to the amputee and strive to provide a quick turn around time from casting to device delivery.

2. What does the practitioner envision his or her role to be in your rehabilitation?

We believe that an open line of communication between the practitioner and the amputee is paramount. When asked about his role, Elliot explained that he believes, "The prosthetist helps to navigate and to serve as a resource. It is important that a prosthetist is willing to offer choices. My first job is to listen."

3. Does the practitioner have experience with bionic devices and the latest technology? Ask about current certifications and devices that have been fit on other patients.

Not all prosthetists have received training on computerized limb components. New products are being introduced into the prosthetic market yearly. The practitioners at OPC strive to stay abreast of the latest innovations.

We believe that it should be left to the amputee to judge whether or not a component works for them. After all, the amputee is the person wearing the device. We provide the patient with options and our professional opinion, but ultimately the choice is yours.

4. What is the typical wait time to be scheduled for adjustments or to trouble shoot prosthetic issues?

We realize that there is little more than can ruin an amputee's day than an ill-fitting, uncomfortable socket. We are often able to see patients within 24 hours to address issues or to provide adjustments. Because our devices are manufactured on site, we are often able to remedy the issues during a single visit.

Choosing a prosthetist is a decision that should be carefully weighed. We are proud to be a practice which offers compassionate, knowledgeable, innovative care while being equipped to manufacture and repair on site. Remember that the prosthetist should be part of the team, but the amputee should always be the leader.

If you are interested in meeting with one of our practitioners, please give us a call (703) 698 5007 or drop us an email ( We will offer Skype consultations, at no charge, beginning in January. Let's talk about how we can help you achieve your goals. We would love to be a part of your team!

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