The Prosthetic Process

Your Journey

Whether you are facing amputation for the first time, or have lived with limb loss for years, American Brace & Limb Enterprise (ABLE) can guide you through your journey and get you the most out of your prosthetic care and rehab. We want to walk with you every step of the way, from the beginning when you face the amputation, to the end when you successfully using your prosthetic.

Our Purpose.
At ABLE, we are committed to helping you achieve all of your goals and desires. We truly believe that the challenges you face each and every day can be overcome. Our desire is for you to be able to do anything you want and enjoy a life without limits.

Facing an amputation?
Amputation is a life changing event. Body image, mood, the ability to care for oneself, and mobility are all temporarily affected by limb loss. There are various reasons why an amputation must be performed, and the decision to lose a limb should be thoroughly discussed with your healthcare providers and family. It can be difficult to weigh the concerns and agree to adopt a life that seems to have an uncertain future, but it can change your life in a great way. We will be there to support and help you.

After the surgery
The day after the surgery can be one of the most difficult challenges you face in your life. For a patient, the amputation can be painful and the individual will begin the healing process of losing a part of their body. You should be prepared for new challenges as you adapt to being an amputee. Ordinary tasks that 240_F_116547952_R2eSUvkV2sEENRgdTU1qO4UAkrLOqk67were once routine prior to amputation can be very difficult and frustrating. Even sitting on the edge of the bed and moving over to a chair can be a painful but very important beginning. You may also find tasks such as caring for yourself and navigating your surroundings to be challenging, but this will become easier with time and assistance.

Affects of amputation.
Amputation can have a major impact on your life and people react in many different ways. Often limb loss can have psychological and physical affects. Some people experience changing perceptions of body image and phantom pains, which are completely normal. For those managing the emotional physiological and physical effects of amputation, we can be a resource and help you build a support structure to regain confidence and mobility.

Family, friends and your healthcare team
It is important to get people you trust involved in your rehab process, including your family, friends, prosthetist and physical therapist. You will need to surround yourself with people who will support and challenge you. ABLE advocates peer counseling before and after amputation for you and your family. We have a wide variety of like-minded amputees who are willing to speak with you, motivate you, and help guide you along the way. We also sponsor a support group that meets once a month, which can be a valuable resource.

Accepting your new body
We all see ourselves in a different way. After limb loss, your self image and sense of worth may be altered. Accepting the changes to your body will take time. As you go through the rehab process, allow yourself time to recover and adapt. It is important to not get discouraged during this adjustment period. Reach out to your support team and never be afraid to ask your prosthetist if you have any questions or doubts.

The ABLE Fitting Process

Reducing residual-limb swelling
The use of a shrinker is critical in the shaping and control of swelling of the residual limb. You will be required to wear a shrinker, and it is worn until your physician and prosthetist feel that the residual limb is stable from swelling. This process is different for every individual. Once your residual limb has reached an optimal size, it will be time to be evaluated for a prosthesis. It is important to note that the residual limb may also fluctuate in volume depending on lifestyle, time of day, and activity levels.

Receiving your first prosthesis
Receiving your first prosthesis is a unique milestone, and many amputees will tell you that this is the biggest step in returning to your normal lifestyle. The sense of accomplishment when you take your first step in your new prosthesis is very rewarding, and is the beginning or acheiving a life without limits.

+ Initial Evaluation
Ideally, you will meet with your prosthetist before the amputation to discuss where your limb will be removed and how quickly to start prosthetic training. If you do not meet with your prosthetist before the amputation then your initial evaluation will occur after you leave the hospital. Together, along with your physician and rehabilitation specialists, we assess your needs and wants in terms of function, style and comfort.

+ First Fitting and Alignment
If you have met with your prosthetist for a pre amputation evaluation an initial prosthesis can be fit in the hospital if the conditions are right. Training to use your prosthesis can begin almost immediately after surgery. This prosthesis will be temporary and should only be used up to a month. For those who have not had a pre amputation evaluation the first fitting will be a socket fitting only. This is to gauge the reduction of swelling in the residual limb. We ensure that all components work together to maximize your comfort and independence. Alignment is carefully adjusted to your individual gait and balance.

+ Second Fitting
At this point you will be fit witha prepratory prosthesis so long as the sutrue line has healed an appropriate amount of volume reduction has occured in the residual limb. This prosthesis will provide a more intimate fit than the initial prosthesis for patients who have had a pre amputation evaluation. For patients who did not have the pre amputation evaluation, this will be the first prosthesis. It should be worn from 4-6 months.

+ Final Fitting
When the limb has healed and volume in the limb has stabilized a final prosthesis will be fit that accommodates your activities. Though you have been fit with your final prosthesis, there still may be volume changes in the limb which will require new sockets. If you have noticed changes in how your prosthesis feels or fits you should schedule an appointment for an evaluation. It is important to note that it may take 5-7 years for a limb to mature and stabilize.

+ The Extra Mile
Continuing care is very important. You are given our phone numbers and a patient satisfaction survey and you are encouraged to call us with any questions or concerns, and you will be immediately scheduled for an appointment to evaluate or modify your device. We will work hand-in-hand with you, your physician, and your physical or occupational therapist to assist you in your goal to return to all the activities you love.