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Yanke Bionics - What to Expect

For patients with an arm amputation

Information for the upper extremity amputee

Losing a limb will present many new challenges in your life. Fortunately you will not be facing these challenges alone. Yanke Bionics is just one member of the skilled health care team helping you overcome these new challenges. Remember, except no limitations! Your team of experts may include occupational therapists, physical therapists, case managers, and social workers as well as your physician and prosthetist (people trained to fit artificial limbs, or prostheses).

Healing: The first stage of rehabilitation for an arm amputation is healing. As your arm begins the healing process, you will want to keep any open areas clean and dry. Your physician will recommend the appropriate dressings to your arm and any other special considerations you may need to follow. Things to notify your doctor about are any discoloration to the incision, sudden onset of high fever, or excessive draining. These can be signs of infection which need to be treated immediately.

Shrinker: One technique to help speed healing and to reduce edema, is the use a shrinker. A shrinker is an elastic stocking that provides graded (tighter at the bottom and less compression the higher you go on the sock) compression to your residual limb. This compression helps control edema (swelling) which helps “shape” your limb, helps decrease nerve sensitivities, and improves circulation to healing tissues. Since a shrinker is a tight stocking, you may need someone else to help assist donning initially. Your prosthetist at Yanke Bionics will size you for the appropriate shrinker and explain how to care for this garment.

Phantom Sensation and Pain: Although most amputees experience some form of phantom sensation at some point during their lives, there are tricks to help reduce and minimize its effect. Please note that there is a big difference between phantom pain and phantom sensation. Phantom pain is a physical discomfort and the feeling like the missing appendage is in a painful position or severely injured (Perhaps it feels like the finger are bent back and broken). However, phantom sensation is simply the sensation that the missing appendage is still there without physical discomfort. (“It feels like my hand is still there”)Your occupational and/or physical therapist can do things to help reduce phantom pain and sensation. The tips they will provide, work at desensitizing nerve endings in your residuum. A shrinker provided by Yanke Bionics will also help reduce phantom sensation/pain. Read more about phantom sensations.

The First Prosthesis: After your limb is healed, your physician will prescribe a prosthesis. A Yanke Bionics prosthetist will use this prescription to fabricate the appropriate prosthesis for your needs. It is important to tell your prosthetist what kind of activities you would like to return to. For example, make a list of activities you find enjoyable so you can discuss these activities with your prosthetist. Your prosthetist will work with you at designing a prosthesis best-suited for your lifestyle. The level of amputation greatly changes the design of prosthesis, as will your likes and interests.

Limb changes: Your residual limb will rapidly decrease in size during the first few months following ampuation due to the decrease in swelling and because of muscle atrophy. Be aware that this is a necessary part of the healing process. Also be aware that this will require adjustments by the prosthetist to accommodate for this decrease in limb size. Over the first year, the limb will gradually taper off to a point where a decrease in size is much slower.

The Second Prosthesis: Many times it will be necessary to replace the socket, components, or both by the first 12 to 24 months due to the loss of limb size. This may be called a definitive prosthesis but by no means is it the last prosthesis you will received. As your age, limb, and/or interests change, so will the prosthesis.

Request an online evaluation

Use our evaluation form to request a no-obligation consultation from our clinicians. We will contact you to discuss your pre-surgery or prosthetic-related questions.