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Patient Education

FAQ’s

Please call our office at 219-791-9200 to set up an appointment. We will try to see the patient within 48 hours depending upon available time slots. There is no charge for initial consultation or second opinion.

A prescription is not required for consultation or initial evaluation. However, a prescription is required in order for us to provide a device to a patient. We strongly recommend each patient obtain a prescription for consultation prior to the initial visit. If this is not possible, Bionic will be happy to assist patients in this process. If requested, we will give a written plan outlining our course of treatment at no charge.

Bionic does not charge for routine office visits. Routine office visits and adjustments are covered under the original charge for the orthotic or prosthetic device. Non-routine adjustments/repairs may be subject to a fee, if the initial device warranty is no longer in effect.

Bionic encourages all patients to call ahead to schedule appointments. This reduces wait time and ensures that each patient gets a quality visit. However, walk-in appointments are welcome.

For patients who are unable to come make a trip to our offices or arrange transportation our specialists provide services at homes, nursing facilities, assisted living places at no charge.

While most medical insurance coverage will include prosthetic limbs with a prescription from your doctor, it is best to check your policy and call your insurance company to be sure.

Bionic ensures that insurance eligibility is obtained and pre-authorization requirements are met. We help each patient navigate insurance coverage issues and, when needed, can pursue alternative funding resources.

There is no limit to the number of visits a patient can request. We are here to help.

FAQs about Prosthetics

PLEASE NOTE: These FAQs are meant to be used only for educational purposes. They are not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease.
These questions and answers are common but certainly not all-inclusive. If you have specific questions related to orthotic and prosthetic services, our Practitioners, including orthotists and prosthetists, are also available by phone.

Amputations may be the result of diabetes, bacterial infections, circulatory diseases and trauma. Some people may be born with congenital birth defects which leave them with non-functioning limbs that may become more useful once removed and replaced with prostheses.

The short answer is yes. The long answer is that we will give our opinion based on our clinical experience and the feedback that we receive from our prosthetic users. Our clinicians are accessible to surgeons who wish to consult us in the operating room as well.

Phantom pain describes the sensations felt by amputees which may include itching, pins and needle feelings, stabbing pains, pressure, tingling, cramping, a sense of swelling – all in the area of the missing limb. Most amputees experience these sensations althouigh the degree to which they are felt will vary. The sensations come and go. They may occur several times a day, for a few hours at a time. After time passes after the amputation, they will become less frequent and intense and short lasting. Your prosthetist will discuss options for helping reduce the pain.

Prosthesis is an external device designed to replace a missing part of the body, including arms, hands, fingers, legs, toes, breasts and even eyes.

A prosthetist is a healthcare professional, specifically educated and trained to manage comprehensive prosthetic patient care. This involves patient assessment, treatment plan formation and implementation and follow-up management.

A prosthetic limb can enhance your quality of life after an amputation. With a lower limb amputation, above or below the knee, a prosthesis may help you gain freedom of movement and avoid dependence on wheelchairs or crutches. Upper limb amputees may also benefit from prosthesis, depending on what functions you want to regain. We also fit partial foot and hand prostheses. We have partial foot inserts to replace part of an amputated foot or toes. There are also partial hand prostheses to help regain functions with the replacement of fingers.

Although a prosthesis will never completely replace your natural limb, it can help restore all or most of your original functioning. This is partially reliant on your level of amputation. Below the Knee amputees usually do well in returning to former lifestyles. Above the knee amputees may proceed more slowly but usually can return to former lifestyles as well. Depending on personal goals and needs, patients with upper limb amputations have varied rates of success in restoring former lifestyles.

With a prescription for a prosthesis from your doctor, we will make the necessary measurements of your residual limb, using the latest casting, measurement and scanning technology. We will discuss various types of prostheses with you, including your lifestyle, then design the best for your needs. We will custom fit it, instruct you on the use and care of it and also make any needed repairs and adjustments.

We feel that the earliest a patient can be fit with prosthesis, the better. We utilize the IPOP (Immediate Post Operative Prosthesis) whenever possible. This can be applied as early as the initial amputation to provide protection to the amputated limb and help with the psychological component of limb loss as well. Rehab can start with touchdown weight bearing for lower extremity as soon as the next day. For upper extremity amputations, it is necessary to fit them within the first 30 days to prevent the patient from becoming one handed.

Exercise plays a very important role in being prepared for your first prosthesis. You will find that the stronger and more flexible you are, the easier it will be to work with your new prosthesis. Your physical therapist will help by teaching you some exercises specific to your unique needs. People often can begin their exercising while they are on bed rest and then increase the amount and type of exercise as they heal. There are massage exercises to prepare the stump for continual contact with the prosthetic.

This depends on changes in the residual limb size, activity levels, body weight/height and general wear and tear on the components. In early stages, residual limbs frequently change size and shape, most often within the first 6 months after amputation. This may require socket changes or adjustments. We recommend an evaluation at least every 6 months by a certified prosthetist. Early detection of a problem can prevent major problems.

The answer to that is dependent upon the individual. I like to give the example of shoes. How many shoes do you have? Why? Multiple shoes for different occasions right? Well a prosthesis is similar. First off, it is important that an amputee have a backup prosthesis. If the prosthesis breaks, and they are on vacation, or in the middle of an important job, they must have something to put on until the other prosthesis can be repaired (and walk into the prosthetic clinic with!). Some younger patients may need a sports specific prosthesis that is set up for running or jogging. It may be made of carbon fiber and be without a cosmetic cover so it can get dirty and wet.

All prosthetic devices are custom made. An image is taken of the remaining limb, either with Cast by hand or digitally by a computer, and a socket is made to properly distribute the patients body weight comfortably. Various gel interfaces and prosthetic components are utilized depending upon the condition of the patients limb and their activity level.

This is dependent upon the type of component utilized in the prosthesis. For example, a mechanical knee costs less than a computerized knee. However, the total cost to rehabilitate a new amputee is much different than the cost of fabricating a single prosthesis for a veteran amputee. It is important to understand that it may take multiple fittings (sockets) to achieve a final definitive prosthesis with a new amputee.

No, just like we are all individuals, each limb is custom designed to fit the activity level and lifestyle of the patient that wears it.

It can take as little as 2 days or as long as 2 weeks to make a prosthesis. Different amputation levels can be more complex than others. Also, many people that come to see us are considered “tough fits” due to irregularities or difficult amputation levels. These take longer to fit properly.

We can help you find other health professionals such a physical or occupational therapists for additional instruction and training on using your prosthesis as well as necessary strengthening programs. We can also get you products needed to wear and care for your prosthesis, including socks and liners.

Once your residual limb, your stump, has healed and swelling has gone down and it is wrapped properly, you should be able to use your prosthetic leg with little to no pain. You may feel some pressure but pain should be minimal. Your prosthetist will give you a specific schedule for using your new prosthesis which will allow the residual limb to gradually adjust. If you do feel pain while wearing your prosthetic leg, you should let your prosthetist know right away.

The weight of the prosthetic depends on the type and the components. The average weight of a typical below the knee prosthetic is about 4 lbs. The average weight of an above the knee prosthetic is about 8 lbs. Your natural leg is usually about 1/6 of your bodyweight.

It is not recommended that you wear your prosthesis to bed because excessive wear may cause harm to your residual limb.

Some below-the-knee right leg amputees can drive effectively with their prosthetic; others may find a left-foot gas pedal installation better suited for their needs. These pedals are inexpensive and fold out of the way for general use. Other amputees might find hand controls a better option.

Generally, your prosthesis should be kept as dry as possible to protect the components. However, there are covers which go over them to help prevent water from entering. There are also special prostheses designed for water activities such as swimming and showering.

Prosthetic socks are used over the residual limb. They come in various thicknesses and materials and provide cushioning, reduce and absorb friction, protect the skin, absorb perspiration and compensate for any shrinkage and/or swelling of the residual limb. A residual limb will change size and shape over time. Different thicknesses of socks (ply) are used to compensate for any increase or decrease in size of the residual limb. Your prosthetist will show you how to put on the sock, when to put it on and how to use the most efficient one for your needed fit.

There are cosmetic coverings for the outer structure of a prosthetic (“endoskeletal structure”). They are more than just for looks; they protect the inner components from exposure to harmful external elements. There are also foam covers which can be applied to the outside of the prosthesis. These covers can be custom shaped, based on the patient’s measurements. At Sunshine P&O, we use a state-of-the-art technology – a 3D scanner to get the exact measurements and shape. There are also custom protective skins which can be painted or sprayed onto the foam cover. Whether or not you cover a prosthetic is a personal decision. Many athletes chose not to cover their prosthetic legs in order to keep it as lightweight as possible.

A well fitting prosthesis will allow you to regain much of the function you have lost. There are limitations depending on the type of prosthesis and your personal health and abilities. Your prosthetist, physical therapist, and doctor, will work with you to ensure you get the most from your prosthesis.

Please feel free to contact us at 219-791-9200 or email us at bionic@bionicpo.com if you have any questions.