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The Fitting Process Replacement prosthetic devices are typically fitted by casting an original limb for size and shape.

syme procedure, amputational surgery

Waiting to Be Fitted

The suture line or the surgical incision site must heal before casting and fitting a socket. The stresses associated with the pulling and pushing of skin and other soft tissues during walking can easily damage the incision site if not permitted to heal completely. Reducing swelling, keeping the area clean, and following the physician’s directions for dressing care can help speed healing as well. Once again, age, cause of amputation, and associated diagnoses such as diabetes and vascular disease play a significant role in determining the time necessary for healing. Generally most sutures or staples are removed within 10 to 21 days after surgery, depending on the individual.

Robotic Prosthetic Arm

One of the most critical aspects of post-amputation rehabilitation is the prevention of further deconditioning resulting from inactivity. For many people, the time leading up to the amputation is a very sedentary period. Time is spent slowly watching an ulcer heal, and in the physician-prescribed bed rest with limited activity. During this time strength and cardio-vascular endurance diminish. Postoperatively, a good rehabilitation program should include upper and lower limb strengthening in addition to a well-planned cardiovascular program. Just walking with a walker or crutches around the house is frequently not enough to prepare for the demands of prosthetic rehabilitation and ambulation. The metabolic energy requirements of walking with a prosthesis are far greater than during normal walking and, thus, require preparation and training.

For optimal rehabilitation, it is important to consult with a physical therapist and begin an exercise program immediately after surgery. Then continue exercising at home independently or with a family member. This applies to people of all ages and those who lost a limb for any reason.

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