Amputation and Prosthetics
Amputation is something no one wants to endure, still there are over one and a half million Americans living with the loss of a limb. Most amputations occur in people 65 and older due to a disease, but younger people still sometimes must have an amputation due to disease or more commonly a trauma. In industrialized countries like the United States the vast majority of amputations are lower limbs that are amputated due to Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD).
PVD affects the circulation in the lower limbs causing wounds to heal slowly and an increased susceptibility to infection. PVD is frequently linked to diabetes, but can also be associated with frostbite, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or Buerger’s disease. Buerger’s disease affects the blood vessels in the limbs of people with a history of smoking. One of the biggest challenges facing older PVD amputee patients is that they are often coping with additional illnesses simultaneously, which can make rehabilitation more challenging.
Although the majority of amputations in the United States affect lower limbs due to PVD, trauma is still a major cause of upper limb amputation. The most common amputations are the thumbs and fingers due to accidents at home or work. Other amputations are due to automobile, and heavy machinery accidents, animal attacks and military related injury. Trauma amputation patients tend to be healthier and often have even better success with prosthetics than some amputees battling disease.
Finally a small percentage of amputations are due to tumors that are positioned in such a way that the limb must be removed in order to treat the underlying disease. Patients facing amputation due to a tumor also frequently face intense treatments like chemotherapy or radiation to treat the disease after the amputation. This can delay rehabilitation and the use of prosthesis, but as long as the disease is treated it should not permanently prevent a patient from successfully using a prosthetic.
A prosthetic is an artificial device that replaces a missing body part. In the past prosthetics were primarily for aesthetic purposes but were unable to replace any significant amount of functionality. Thanks to technological and scientific advancements cutting edge prosthetics can work with you to help replace a large portion of the functionality of your missing limb. At Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics in Michigan we work diligently with all of our patients to find the most comfortable, aesthetically appealing, durable and easy to use prosthetic for each individual. We take into consideration special circumstances like your hobbies and interests, expectations, cosmetic importance, financial resources, and amputation level. Helping you achieve the goals most important to you whether it’s swimming in Lake Michigan with your son, taking a stroll with your dog or walking your daughter down the isle is what our business is about. Whatever your needs may be one of the trained staff on the Teter team will be happy to help you find the right prosthetic for you.
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