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Five Things to Consider when Buying a Prosthetic

April 10, 2015

Considering Prosthetics

Getting a prosthetic is a very involved process. Once the limb has been amputated, the first step is recovery, so that the surgical scar heals properly. The recovery usually takes at least two weeks, after which the patient can begin the rehabilitation process and practising with the artificial limb. Here are some points to consider, and discuss with your prosthetist before making your choice.

Comfort: The level of comfort a prosthetic offers is very important, especially when you use it day to day. If the prosthetic causes any kind of irritation or swelling around the residual limb, consult with your prosthetist for an adjustment or a replacement. Comfort while moving is also important.

Requirements: One question to ask when getting fitted for a prosthetic is ‘What will I use it for?’ Each prosthetic is designed specifically for the person using it. Getting an artificial limb means getting measurements, moulds and making sure the limb fits just right. Artificial limbs are also classified on the level of activity the user is likely to be involved in. The classification, known as the K-Level starts from K-Zero to K-4, which indicates the lifestyle of the person with the prosthetic.

Environment: The environment is a very important factor to take into account when buying a prosthetic. The weather and the environs can affect your prosthetic and the limb remnant. Dry weather, humidity and cold all affect the way a prosthetic works. Dry skin can cause friction and irritation with the prosthetic and humidity causes sweat to accumulate, causing discomfort. Sand can affect prosthetic joints and salt water can corrode them if exposed. The residual limb and the stump can also be affected if the lining and socks are exposed to the elements and not washed thoroughly after.

Wearing Schedule: Adjusting to a prosthetic takes time and effort. Once the amputee has healed and completed physical therapy, he or she is fitted with a prosthetic. After the fitting has been completed, many adjustments and refits are made. A prosthetist always prescribes a wearing schedule to ease the patient into using an artificial limb with a minimum amount of wear-time, including standing and walking. The time is slowly increased if the patient shows no signs of discomfort.

Other Factors:

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Bionics: The future of prosthetic technology?

March 13, 2015

bionics

 

Bionics is defined as the study of mechanical systems that function like living organisms or parts of living organisms. This, while not limited to creating prosthetics has definitely made its mark. The term “bionic” was first coined in 1958 by Jack E. Steele. There have been many biomechanical advancements made over the past decade. Constant upgrades and developments have been happening. New designs, technologies and ground-breaking research have gone into making prosthetics increasingly functional, overcoming the difficulties users of artificial limbs face. Prosthetic limbs have now evolved beyond being little more than shaped pieces of wood or metal. Prosthetic technology has also diversified into creating artificial eyes and prosthetic organs. New developments also allow prosthetic users to touch and hold objects, experience a full-range of motion and do anything they could do with their natural limbs.

3D Printing has also left its mark on the world of prosthetics. 3D printing is a sustainable technology that can quickly and easily create inexpensive yet functional prosthetics. New prosthetics can also mimic natural movements by tracking muscular or nerve activity. Prosthetics for activities like sports have also been developed or are being perfected. Devices like powered full-body frames that can help paraplegics walk are also in development. These fully-powered frames, also called exoskeletons, could eventually replace walkers, crutches and orthotic devices like the Reciprocating Gait Orthosis (RGO).

There is now equal emphasis is on quality, functionality and comfort. Advanced seating technologies like suction pumps and silicon linings have made prosthetics more comfortable to wear in the long-run. The use of new-age materials like carbon-fibre and lightweight alloys have made lives easier for.

Research is also being conducted into neural technology that is, connecting to the mind via technology to allow functions that might have physical or environmental limitations. Recently, a quadriplegic, as part of a study conducted By the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) flew an F-35 jet via a simulator using nothing but her mind. A pair of neural transmitters converted her thoughts into computer commands, allowing her to fly the plane. Here’s the kicker: The participant in the study, Jan Scheuermann has never flown a plane before.

Prosthetic technology however, is not a standalone development. Various sciences and fields of study have been involved. Engineering, medical knowledge, the study of biological processes and even psychology have played a part. Advancements in computing, smaller, more efficient motors and batteries that last longer have aided prosthetic development. It remains to be seen how these developments will play out, though these advanced prosthetics have already proved their worth. Where this will lead to in the future remains to be seen.

Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics is committed to the comfort and care of our patients. We ensure that our patients get the best treatment possible, with the latest technology and advancements in prosthetics. Learn more about our products and services at www.cpousa.com or contact us at 888.676.2276

How to adjust to a prosthetic

December 18, 2014

Amputation is a triple threat. It involves loss of function, loss of sensation, and loss of body image. The wonder of it is that so many adapt so well, thanks to their resilience and the ingenuity and dedication of those who care for them. It takes a lot of psychological strength to adapt to such conditions. Some might not know how to prepare themselves for a prosthetic.
Those individuals who have had adequate warning and preparation fare better in the immediate postsurgical period, whereas those who do not receive such preparation tend to react negatively or with massive denial.
Before surgery, the surgeon, prosthetist, and the physical therapist should discuss plans and goals with the patient. Also, before surgery, you should discuss what happens after surgery with a peer counselor who has had an amputation. Exercises to increase muscle strength and flexibility are taught by a physical therapist before and after amputation. Some exercises depend on the type of amputation. You need to do exercises to help reduce swelling in the stump and prevent contracture of tissues in the stump, which stiffens tissues, limits the joint’s range of motion, and thus makes using a prosthesis more difficult.
Once the wound has healed, you may be ready for a prosthesis (artificial leg). A prosthesis can help you regain the ability to walk. You’ll start by working with a prosthetist. This is an expert who makes and fits the prosthesis. At first, you’ll be fitted with a preparatory(sometimes called temporary) prosthesis. Later, you’ll get your definitive (sometimes called permanent) prosthesis. In some cases, the preparatory prosthesis will serve as the definitive prosthesis. Your activity level and goals help decide the type of definitive prosthesis that will be best for you.
The preparatory prosthesis is fairly basic in design. It has a socket, which fits around your residual limb. The socket is attached to a pylon (pipe) that supports your limb. Or, the socket may lead to a knee-like joint, if needed. The pylon then extends down to a solid foot piece. The foot piece has a cover that makes it look more like a natural foot.
You may work with both your prosthetist and physical therapist to practice gait training. This means learning to walk with your prosthesis. You’ll likely begin by learning to stand using parallel bars. The bars help you get used to putting weight on your prosthesis. Then you’ll progress to slow walking, using the bars for support. When you’re ready, you’ll practice walking with an aid, such as a walker or cane.
Watch for signs of poor fit. Proper fit of your prosthesis is very necessary for comfort and good function. Contact your prosthetist if you notice:
1. Your prosthesis feels heavy or hard to move. This may mean it is too loose.=
2. Blisters or open sores on your residual limb. The prosthesis may be too loose or too tight in certain places. If this happens, stop wearing the prosthesis until you see the prosthetist. You may also need to see your doctor to treat wounds or skin problems.
3. Your residual limb moves up and down within the socket as you walk (pistoning). Your limb should fit snugly into the socket of the prosthesis. Pistoning means that the prosthesis is too loose.
The socket of your prosthesis may need to be replaced every 2–8 years. And parts of the prosthesis can be changed if they are not meeting your needs. Wear clean prosthetic socks every day to help prevent skin problems. Wash your socks and socket liner (depending on type) as directed by the manufacturer.

How to travel with a prosthetic

December 17, 2014

When your travel destination is somewhere far from your place, you need to know how to travel with your prosthetic device. As an amputee, you should take into account that, unforeseen things can happen to your residual limb or prosthesis, so always be prepared. For instance, a humid climate can lead to increased perspiration; likewise, arid conditions can cause skin to dehydrate and become dry. Even changes to your diet can affect your residual limb. High contents of salt in restaurant food can cause swelling. You may walk more frequently and for longer periods of time than you would in your usual day. So, what should you do to avoid some of these problems? Try keeping an amputee emergency kit handy when you travel and be sure to plan ahead.
Prostheses can wear and break over time, so attention should be paid to each of its components before you head out on a trip. Always check for cracks, tears, or loose parts that can impact the function and listen for abnormal sounds. If you notice any problems, visit your prosthetist to have them remedied before your trip. If your trip is outside of your local area or in a remote location it will be difficult to get help with your prosthesis.
Your Amputee travel kit should be consisting of
1. Antiperspirants
2. Creams and lotions
3. Cleansers
4. Wipes
5. Topical antibiotics
6. Skin dressing
7. Medications
8. Extra stump socks and/or liners
9. Elastic sleeve or auxiliary suspension
10. Small tool kit
These are some suggestions of what to include in your travel kit. You can certainly tailor it to your own personal situation. It is recommended to try to get all of your lotions, ointments, cleaning agents, and tools in travel sizes to lighten your load and so you can have them with you at all times. Armed with these handy travel tips and suggestions, you will be able to go anywhere at anytime!
If you rely on your wheelchair for more than casual use, it should receive a maintenance check. If your chair has a history of maintenance problems, you may want to take some spare parts. In the worst case, you will need expert repair services. You can usually get service at a medical equipment supply store where you are; if not, a bicycle shop may be able to get you rolling again.
In proceeding through security at airports, it is common for security or customs agents to closely inspect your artificial limb. Passengers with prostheses can be screened without removing them. The way screening will be conducted depends on the passenger’s level of ability and whether or not he or she voluntarily chooses to remove his or her prosthetic during screening. The passenger should inform the security officer of the existence of a prosthetic, his or her ability, and of any need for assistance before screening begins.

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CPO’s Mastectomy Products

October 15, 2014

MastectomyA mastectomy is a surgical operation to remove a breast. A mastectomy is usually carried out to treat breast cancer. In some instances, women and some men believed to be at high risk of breast cancer have the operation as a preventive measure. However, there is a great deal of psychological impact in losing a breast. Mastectomy products help restore one’s confidence and self-esteem.
CPO offers a wide range of mastectomy products. The following are the mastectomy products that CPO offers:
1) Breast Prosthesis is a device which resembles breast tissue. It is made of silicone and it is to be worn inside a pocketed bra. This helps to regain balance along the chest wall.
2) Partial Breast Prostheses is a thin silicone or foam insert designed to cover the remaining breast tissue to create balance with the non-surgical breast.
3) Camisole/Fiber Filled Prostheses: A camisole gives support for the non-surgical breast, while still providing comfort.
4) Cotton Stretch Bra: It is a soft and stretchable garment which allows for minimal arm motion. It also has pockets to help hold the prosthesis in place. This garment is recommended for low levels of activity.
5) Weighted or Non-weighted Foam Prostheses: These prostheses are worn during the final stages of healing when comfort and ease is still a need. The weighted prosthesis allows just enough weight to keep the prosthesis down in the pocket of the bra and prevents the prosthesis from “floating”. it can be worn during low activity anytime throughout the patient’s life.
6) Traditional Fashion Bra: Once the patient is completely healed it is better they return back to a post mastectomy fashion bra.
7) Silicone Prostheses: They are breast prostheses which are made of silicone. They offer the most natural feel and look.
The use of a breast prosthesis serves a physiological purpose by restoring natural balance and carriage of body weight. It also helps in preventing problems such as spinal curvature, shoulder drop, balance problems, muscle contracture and neck and back pain. It also brings a great deal of confidence and a positive self-esteem.