Early prosthetic limbs help amputee patients transition to daily life

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When a person is forced to get an amputation, their whole world can turn upside-down. However thanks to technologies at Spectrum Health, there are ways to make life easier with prosthetic limbs.

Dr. Dennis Suzara with Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and physical therapist Joe Ross talk about how early prosthetic use can greatly improve the lives of those who are forced to have limb loss surgery or amputation.

When a person has an amputation, there is more often than not a difficult adjustment both physically and emotionally. Daily tasks like climbing stairs, getting dressed, and being able to work, now have limitations.

The goal of Spectrum Health Inpatient Rehabilitation Program is to help these people relearn these skills so they can continue on with their daily lives by giving them an early prosthetic.

An early prosthetic is a removable brace that is placed over the missing limb. It's custom made from very strong plastic material with foam padding and straps so there's no pressure where the amputation took place. Attached to the brace is a metal pylon and an artificial foot is attached to it, acting as the missing limb.

A benefit about the prosthetic is that it is built to be removed, allowing the rehabilitation team to monitor the residual limb, the surgical site, and surrounding area to make sure everything is healing properly.

When patients stay at the Spectrum Health Impatient Rehabilitation facility, they stay for about two weeks to get used to their new limb and a team of doctors and physical therapists help them along the way.

By using early prosthetic, patients go home sooner, and many are able to return to their homes earlier than planned.

To learn more about the Spectrum Health Inpatient Rehabilitation Program, call (616) 774-5300.

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