Prosthetic Treatment Pathway
Whether our first meeting is a pre-surgical consultation, post surgical hospital visit or visit to our clinic years after an amputation, we take the time to get to know you and your needs as well as answer any questions you may have. For someone with a recent amputation, this initial meeting is often when we provide post surgical compression garments, also known as 'Shrinkers' or 'Stump Shrinkers'.This is a great time to share your story and ask lots of questions.
During your assessment appointment, one of our C.P.(c) (Canadian Certified Prosthetists) will spend time with you to understand your needs, strengths and goals, assess any relevant medical history or medications, conduct a physical examination to determine limb and general condition as well as strength and ranges of motion. Together we will discuss the appropriate componentry and socket design options and empower you to take part in the decision making process.
The funding process for clinically appropriate prosthetic treatment can sometimes be convoluted and involve many steps and payers. Regardless of the funding agency involved (BC Pharmacare, ICBC, WorkSafe BC, Veterans Affairs Canada, War Amps of Canada or the myriad of private insurance companies) we will work with you to navigate this process. We can also work with out-of-province funding agencies. In almost all circumstances funding agencies require pre-approval before any work is started and we will do everything we can to streamline this pathway.
An intimate, comfortable and supportive fit of your prosthetic socket to your residual limb (stump) is critical to your ability to properly use your prosthesis. We can use one of two pathways to create this uniquely custom shape, either a digital scan or traditional (synthetic or plaster) cast material negative model. This shape is then rectified (modified) to provide appropriate support and relief for the soft tissue of your limb, and a diagnostic (usually clear plastic) socket is fabricated from this model. We recommend wearing loose fitting clothing to this appointment as we will need to expose your limb to apply the plaster bandage or capture the digital scan.
Diagnostic Prosthetic Fitting
A diagnostic socket (also called a temporary or check socket) gives us the opportunity to properly assess the contours and overall size of the model to assure your socket has the perfect combination of comfort and support. It is generally made of a clear thermoplastic material that is easily heat moldable to relieve any areas of excessive pressure and recontour any areas that may require more support. This procedure can either be static (just the socket with no components attached) or dynamic (set up with the components so you can walk with it); often this is when people will stand and walk for the first time after an amputation. We suggest you wear loose fitting clothing or a pair of shorts to change into as well as a pair of shoes. We'll cover a lot of information during this appointment so it's helpful to bring along a friend or family member for support, to take pictures of your first steps and to give a big hug or high-5 when you're up and standing for the first time after your amputation.
Definitive Prosthetic Fitting
It's common for a person to use their diagnostic socket for a few weeks to make sure it's comfortable and supportive throughout the day and that we are giving the soft tissue of the residual limb enough time to adapt to the pressures of the new socket shape. Once you're happy with the shape and we know what changes to make to the overall volume (size), we will duplicate the diagnostic socket and fabricate your definitive (laminated fibre-reinforced thermoset plastic) socket. You can decide if you'd like to personalize your socket with a fun fabric, a favourite colour, a subtle carbon fibre weave or even team logo. Once the definitive socket is finished we can also apply one of many finishing options to your prosthesis, a discrete anatomically shaped foam cover, high-definition silicone restoration or custom made removable leather or plastic cover.
Our bodies and activites change over time and often these changes will necessitate adjustments to your prosthesis. These changes can require subtle adjustments to the alignment of your components or to the contours or volume of your socket, they could also require replacement of your socket and/or entire prosthesis. We recommend regular follow up appointments to review fit and function of your prosthesis and inspection of the components to ensure optimal safety and performance of your prosthesis. There are some elements of your prosthesis that need regular maintenance or replacement, we will outline an appropriate care and maintenance schedule.
We gratefully and respectfully acknowledge that Russell Prosthetics operates on the unceded territory of the Qayqayt First Nations.
452 E Columbia St,
New Westminster, BC V3L 3X5, Canada