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Prosthetic care

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Evaluation prosthesis and the definitive prosthesis

After the amputation, it is determined in consultation with the physician and his team whether the scars have healed sufficiently and/or whether the stump can withstand a light load. When the stump is then ready to receive the prosthesis, treatment is started with an evaluation prosthesis.

The evaluation prosthesis serves to verticalise and mobilise the patient as quickly as possible. With this prosthesis you learn to stand up again and take your first steps.

During rehabilitation, the doctor and his team check whether the stump has stabilised in terms of scars, volume and position of the stump. Depending on these elements, it is decided in which activity group the patient will be in and work on a definitive prosthesis can begin.

The definitive prosthesis can only be made after 6 months. It is determined in advance, in consultation with the multidisciplinary team, to which activity group the prosthesis user belongs. The group classification determines for which type of prosthetic components you can receive reimbursement from your health insurance. Today the more active leg prosthesis users have the possibility of being reimbursed for computer-controlled prosthetic knees. For this, the user must meet a number of functional tests.

As a prosthesis user, it is very important that your prosthetist has a proper understanding of your needs and requirements and that you can rely on his or her expertise for the full 100%. 

If you have specific questions about anything to do with prostheses, do not hesitate to contact our colleagues!

How is a prosthesis measured and manufactured?

Depending on the type of prosthesis, different methods are used to obtain the most exact measurement. In addition to the classic plaster measurement, these days we are increasingly focusing on digital measurements in which the limb is scanned with a 3D scanner.

The impression of the limb (the negative) is then used to make a copy (the positive) of the stump. This is used as a basis for creating the prosthetic socket.

A laminated socket is the most commonly used type of prosthetic socket. This production process uses a combination of tricot, glass and/or carbon fibre and acrylic resin. The end result is a composite. The mechanical properties of this socket guarantee a safe use of the prosthesis, especially for lower limb prostheses. Trial sockets or sockets to evaluate the fit are usually made of plastic.

As regards leg prostheses we are now strongly committed to delivering a prosthesis in a single visit. In doing so, we will measure the prosthetic socket directly on the limb itself. This is possible for both a lower-leg prosthesis and an upper-leg prosthesis.

As regards prostheses for the upper limb, we are now more and more working with 3D printed models. This production technique allows us to optimise the fit, by working on the basis of prototypes. When the shape of the prototype is optimal, we can use this to make a definitive model. We often make cosmetic prostheses for hands or fingers in silicone.

Prosthetics are first and foremost functional. Together with you, we will be looking for the right components for the right use. Different feet and/or prosthetic knees can be tested extensively, so that we can be sure they meet all your needs and requirements.

Yet we can’t lose sight of the aesthetic aspect either. Depending on the wishes of the user, there are various options for finishing the prosthesis. This can range from a conventional foam mousse to true-to-life, silicone prosthetic cosmetics. For those who are open to something different, there are also lots of 3D-printed options.

Group classification based on activity level 

The attending physician prepares a prosthesis prescription for a first prosthesis in consultation with the patient, the prosthetist and the treating therapists as soon as the goals and wishes with regard to the level of mobility and activity are known. The wishes of the patient with a leg amputation are taken as starting point when preparing a prosthesis prescription. 

The following medical specialists can draw up a prosthesis prescription as well: a medical specialist in orthopaedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, paediatrics, rheumatology, neurology, surgery or in neuropsychiatry.

Your activity level as a prosthesis user determines the construction of your prosthesis:

  • Group 1: Cosmetic leg prosthesis

A cosmetic prosthesis is chosen if there is no prospect of walking. Cosmetic prostheses are therefore made with the emphasis on creating an anatomically finished leg that is pleasing to the eye and regarded as a real leg by the outside world.

  • Group 2: Transfer prosthesis 

A transfer prosthesis is provided in the event of a limited prospect of walking. Transfer prostheses are only used for short-distance transfers, both indoors and outdoors, using walking aids. In the event of a transfer prosthesis, the emphasis is mainly putting on and taking off the prosthesis quickly and easily.

  • Group 3: Definitive prosthesis

You are able to walk to a limited extent, use walking aids, but are able to move without assistance from others. In addition, you participate in social activities outside the home.

  • Group 4: Definitive prosthesis

You are active and can walk with your prosthesis without walking aids and participate in social activities outside the home.

  • Group 5: Definitive prosthesis

You are very active and therefore your prosthesis must pass a walking test without walking aids or other support. 

Prosthesis users classed in groups 3, 4 or 5 are eligible for a computer-controlled prosthetic knee, provided they meet the pre-determined conditions.

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What parts does a lower limb prosthesis consist of?

leg prosthesis consists of several parts. Each part has its own function, enabling you to function independently again.

  • Liner: The liner is the most important part of your prosthetic leg. This fastening system is a kind of sleeve that usually consists of silicone or a copolymer. The liner is rolled over the stump and provides a snug fit. It functions, as it were, as an intermediate layer between the skin and the inner wall of your socket, and ensures a comfortable pressure distribution in the socket during support. There are then various systems with which the liner clicks into the prosthesis, so that the prosthesis user does not lose the prosthesis whilst walking.  
  • Prosthetic socket: The patient needs the prosthetic socket for support when standing and is connected to a prosthetic foot by means of a tube (rod). In the case of an upper leg prosthesis or a prosthesis for a knee disarticulation, a prosthetic knee is provided to replace the anatomical knee joint. The socket provides support, firmness and force absorption of the stump.
  • Prosthetic knee: There are different types of prosthetic knees, with a distinction being made on the basis of construction (number of joint axes) and control. There are knees that are controlled pneumatically, hydraulically and by computer. Each knee has its own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Prosthetic foot: The prosthetic foot provides comfortable and safe support when standing. Ideally, support should be as physiologically as possible. There are different types of prosthetic feet, depending on comfort, function, flexible movement and energy storage

Upper limb prostheses

There are different types of arm prostheses for an amputation or congenital defect in which part of the arm is missing. The level of amputation of your limb is determined depending on the height of the amputation.

Unlike lower limb prostheses, no provisional prosthesis is created in the event of an arm prosthesis. There are different types of arm prostheses.

Cosmetic or passive arm prosthesis

A cosmetic arm prosthesis looks like a normal arm, but has limited or no movement. The prosthesis is intended to complete your body, but also partly increases the functionality of your shoulder, upper arm, lower arm, hand or finger. It is a passive system that is operated with your other hand. This facilitates basic tasks such as pushing, pulling, grabbing or sliding something.

Often these prostheses are manufactured from silicone, making them look true to life.

We are also using more and more 3D printing to produce very specific constructions. 3D printing enables us to use prototypes to realise the correct position of the various joints depending on a certain action or movement. These prostheses are mainly functional and do not look particularly true to life.

Mechanical or body-powered arm prosthesis

With a mechanical or body-powered arm prosthesis it is you that ensures the functioning of the prosthesis. The prosthesis can then be controlled, for example, via straps that run over your shoulder. Cables are attached to the arm prosthesis, which are wrapped around your healthy shoulder by means of a shoulder bandage. This enables you to independently dose the force well.

The same principles can be applied to prosthetic hands, in which the wrist controls the movement of the fingers.

Myoelectric control

You can also contact us for an active arm and/or hand prosthesis with myoelectric control. This means that the muscles in your stump transmit signals to the prosthesis. The prosthesis converts those signals into a movement that ensures that the fingers, wrist, hand or elbow actually move. This type of prosthesis requires good muscle control and sufficient muscle tension. However, this technique takes a lot of practice.