Amputation & Artificial Limbs
Amputation is the surgical removal of all or part of a limb or extremity such as an arm, leg, foot, hand, toe, or finger. Physical and emotional adjustment to losing a limb can be a long process. When one of these limbs are amputated, a prosthetic device, or prosthesis, can play an important role in rehabilitation. For many people, an artificial limb can improve mobility and the ability to manage daily activities, as well as provide the means to stay independent
What is a prosthesis?
Prostheses are artificial devices that are attached or applied to replace missing limbs or other body parts. Meintjes and Neethling is qualified to provide a complete range of external prostheses for lower and upper limbs. These are prescribed, designed, made and fitted to duplicate the function and appearance of amputated limbs Technology is continuously improving, and with the latest prosthetic advancements, amputees can do almost everything they use to do before they lost their limb. Modern technological advances in prosthetic technology allow lighter, sturdier prostheses that function more naturally. Some of these advances saw the introduction of the “energy-storing foot”, the “microprocessor-controlled knee” and the myo-electric (bionic) hand.
Benefits of a Prosthesis
- It gives you a new lease on life
- It allows you to perform a greater range of activities
- It increases your mobility
- It boosts your self-image
- Full range of joint movement
- A sense of the artificial limb belonging to the body
- Easy and quick attachment and removal
- Ability to hold a certain amount of weight
- Perform daily tasks with ease and quickness
Choosing a Prosthesis:
When choosing a prosthesis, we consider the following:
- The level of amputation
- The residual limb’s contour
- The prosthesis’ cosmetic importance
- The anticipated prosthetic function
- The patient’s intellectual capability
- The patient’s vocation (e.g. desk job or manual labour)
- The patient’s hobbies
- The patient’s financial means.
Types of prostheses :
Prosthesis ranges include everything from typical passive or cosmetic types, to functional prostheses. Most prostheses, however, fall somewhere between these extremes. Prosthesis types include the following:
- Cosmetic prostheses
- Body-powered prostheses
- Battery-powered prostheses (myoelectric, bionic, and switch-controlled prostheses)
- Hybrid prostheses (cable-to-elbow or terminal devices combined with battery-powered devices).
Want a prosthesis? What is the next step?
After the amputation one of our qualified Prosthetists will be contacted by your attending surgeon and you will be fitted with a post-op liner. The purpose of the liner is to prevent post-operation swelling and speed up the healing process by increasing blood flow in the residual limb. You will be wearing this post-operation liner for about 6-8 weeks while we start the process of submitting a quotation to your medical aid for your artificial limb. This period will also be used to refer you to the physiotherapist for strengthening exercises and for learning how to mobilise with crutches.
After the 6-8 week period you would normally be ready for your permanent prosthesis to be fit. A diagnostic socket made from see-through thermoplastic material will be manufactured; this is done so that we will be able to assess the fit and effectiveness of the planned prosthesis. You would normally be sent to the physiotherapist for gait training and more muscle strengthening exercises.
The diagnostic socket is fitted and the patient is able to mobilise and learn how-to walk-in preparation for the artificial leg. At this stage it will be possible to fit you with a few different componentry knees and feet so that you can make an informed decision as to the final selection for the permanent prosthesis.
As soon as we are happy with the fit of the socket (the part that the residual limb goes into) we can start to manufacture the definitive prosthesis Meintjes and Neethling makes use of a whole range of knees, feet and adaptors that allow us to make and fit prostheses according to our patients’ requirements. Hendrik Meintjes is one of a few prosthetist certified by Ossur International to fit Rheo bionic knees. The Rheo knee makes use of a battery operated microprocessor that adapts the way that the knee functions.
You are welCome to contact us directly if you feel that you would like a second opinion in the case where the surgeon recommends a different Prosthetist in Pretoria, Rustenburg or Mafikeng. Remember, it always stays the prerogative of the patient in terms of his/her preference.