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Practitioner and CEO Bill Sampson using advanced prosthetic hand technology to view how the hand moves, grips.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about becoming an amputee or an amputee, we have some answers. If you have questions that we haven't addressed here, please contact us. We'd love to introduce you to The Sampson's Difference.

What does a prosthesis look like? 

Depending on the level of your amputation, physical ability and functional needs, each prosthesis will be somewhat different. Custom designs are available at Sampson's. But, for most standard prostheses, they are comprised of modular components attached to a socket that fits over your residual limb.

Will I be able to do all the things I did before I lost my limb?

Most people who lose a limb return to a "new normal," which may be challenging; however, Sampson's works closely with patients to understand the activity level each patient wishes to have. A prosthesis is a tool; how the prosthetic device is used is up to the patient, which depends on the location of the amputation and the patient's physical ability. How well the patient adapts primarily based on their goals, motivation, consistent follow-up care, effort, energy, and dedication. It does take time and patience for new amputees to adjust.

When will I get a prosthesis?

When the wound is healed, and the tissue swelling is decreased. Clearance from the surgical team is required. Then you will be ready for prosthetic measurements and fitting. During this stage, your medical team will also be concerned with maintaining the proper shape of the residual limb and increasing overall strength and function. Fitting is usually stress-free and involves several steps to create a unique prosthesis.  There is also medical documentation and paperwork that must be obtained before a prosthetic device can be provided to a patient. Sampson's Team will guide patients through this process concurrently with various fittings.  1. Surgical Clearance 2. Limb Volume Reduction 3. Clinical Documentation from their doctor 4. Insurance authorization

What if the prosthesis doesn't fit right?

Follow-up is as important as the initial fitting. You will need to make several visits for adjustments to help ease pressure areas and alignment, etc. with the Prosthetist. Tell your prosthetist if you're experiencing discomfort, or your prosthesis is too loose, or too tight. The more you communicate with your Prosthetist, the better you will be able to succeed with a prosthesis.

Prosthetic Arm on a patient

Is it difficult to learn to use a prosthesis?

Learning to use a prosthesis may be challenging for some. It takes time, great effort, strength, patience, and perseverance. You will do your best work with a therapist while learning how to handle the new device and what you do at home to advance your abilities as a prosthetic wearer. Much like learning how to operate a car there are many new tasks you will need to learn such as: * Taking care of the prosthesis Putting on (don) and taking off (doff) the prosthesis * Walking on different types of surfaces, including stairs and uneven terrain * Handling emergencies safely, including falling down and getting up again Performing daily activities at home, at work, and even in a car * Investigating new things you may be uncertain of, including sports and recreational activities

What can I do to prepare myself for a prosthesis?

There is a lot you can and must do to be able to use a prosthesis and use it well. The top priorities are: * Working through the feelings about losing a limb and deciding how to rebuild your life after amputation * Exercising to build the muscles needed for balance and ambulation * Preparing and taking care of your residual limb to attain a proper, sound shape for the prosthesis * Learning proper body positioning and strengthening to maintain tone and prevent contractures.

Will I need to use a wheelchair or crutches?

Using crutches or a wheelchair depends on several factors, including the level of amputation, whether you have a single or bilateral amputation, and your respective level of balance and strength. Most amputees have a pair of crutches for times when the limb is off, including nighttime trips to the bathroom, showering, participating in certain sports, and helping if problems arise that may require leaving the prosthesis off for any length of time. If you have lost both legs, you will probably use a wheelchair at least some of the time. Unilateral amputees may find it helpful to use a cane or crutches for balance and support in the early stages of walking or to have a break from the prosthesis. This individual decision is based on age, balance, strength, and sense of security.

Can the prosthesis break down?

Yes, things that will require repair or replacement can happen, so it's a good idea to know about warranties and what to expect from your prosthetist. Be sure to address any small problems with your prosthesis promptly. There is no benefit to waiting until something falls apart or causes serious skin breakdown. If you wear a prosthesis too long when it needs repairs or replacement, you can harm your residual limb and other parts of your body. Early prevention is more valuable than long-term treatment.

Source: The National Limb Loss Information Center (NLLIC), operated by the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA).

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