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  • Writer's pictureHannah Foster-Middleton

Amputation & Prosthetics


Losing a limb is a serious life-changing event with emotional and physical implications for the injured person as well as their family, regardless of the reason, whether caused by an accident or by surgical intervention for medical reasons. There are many challenges to overcome but it is possible with help to adapt to a new ‘normal’, a new lifestyle.

 

Our mobility and the ability to do the things we all take for granted are forever changed by the loss of an arm or a leg.  Amputation can seriously impact so many actions; walking, sitting, difficulties in balance, support, and weight distribution, which can lead to a higher risk for pressure ulcerations and sores. With an arm loss, the ability to hold things, prepare food, use a computer, drive, etc. is compromised while lower limb amputations may impact bowel, bladder, and sexual functions and the symmetrical nature of the lower core center of the body.

Additionally, the patient may experience what is referred to as phantom pain. This is a sensation of pain in the limb that is no longer there and affects up to 80% of amputees.

 

The biggest aid to restoring a patient to a new normal mobility is to obtain a prosthetic leg, arm or hand. The leg prostheses can help people get around more easily as they mimic the function and, sometimes, even the appearance of a real leg. Genesis is happy to announce that on Thursday, September 21st they will be hosting an Open House Information Session 12.30 - 1.30 p.m. to introduce Ms. Suzanne Watts owner of Stride Prosthetics which is the new distributor for iFit Prosthetics LLC. The public and medical professionals are invited if fully vaccinated. Masks and social distancing protocols will be in place. No appointment is needed. This is a unique opportunity and a first for the Bahamas to see what options are now available. iFit Prosthetics LLC is the American manufacturer of the IFit Transfemoral (Above Knee), Transtibial (Below Knee), and Post-Op Conversion Prosthetic Kits

 

iFit Prosthetics can offer Amputees the option of an adjustable, immediate fit, comfortable, waterproof prosthetic socket.  With changes in residual limb (stump) volume being a major factor affecting the fit and comfort of a prosthesis, the iFit modular systems’ versatility with its buckle and cabling system, allows for the right prosthetic fit each and every time. Rehabilitation with a new prosthetic limb is essential and the team at Genesis working alongside Suzanne Watts will provide therapy enabling an amputee to walk and function in this new normal and reduce the risk of pressure sores for those that are wheelchair-bound as well as the possibility of limiting contractures (tight muscles).

 

 

Ms. Suzanne Watts is an American Board Certified Prosthetist of ‘Stride Prosthetics’, a prosthetics clinic based in Barbados. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise and Sports Science and a Post Graduate Certificate in Prosthetics from the Northwestern University Prosthetics and Orthotics Centre and is a member of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists. She says “ My mission is to always provide the best prosthetic care and support for amputees throughout the Caribbean. I value a great customer experience, and heavily emphasize the importance of patient education and achieving an optimally fitting prosthesis. The Right Fit, Right Now!”

 

While no one wants to have surgery, there are times when it is essential to save a life or prevent further deterioration in a specific condition. Amputation may be necessary if serious trauma to a limb has been sustained, such as in a vehicle or industrial accident, a crush or a blast wound even cancer. Alternatively, it may be needed if you have a severe infection in your limb and the limb has been affected by gangrene, not only from trauma but often as a result of peripheral arterial disease. People living with Diabetes have an increased risk of lower limb amputation because of a non-healing ulcer that might cause severe damage to tissues and bone and may require amputation of a toe, foot, or part of a leg. Wounds that do not heal are the most common cause of amputation among Diabetics. Other factors, such as high blood sugar levels and smoking, can increase the risk of foot-related complications leading to amputation. The annual incidence of foot ulcers is 1% to 4% and the prevalence 5% to 10% in patients with 

Diabetes.. In many cases, surgery becomes necessary when the tissue in the leg or the arm dies due to lack of oxygen and nutrients, leading to infection and gangrene. Gangrene can be very dangerous to the whole body as the infection can spread and become life-threatening.

 

Diabetes can also lead to peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD causes your blood vessels to narrow and reduces blood flow to your legs and feet. It may also cause nerve damage, known as peripheral neuropathy. Diabetics are more at risk than others as they are susceptible to high blood sugar levels. About 50% of patients undergoing non-traumatic lower limb amputations have Diabetes. These patients unfortunately have a high mortality rate following amputation, ranging from 39% to 80% at 5 years. According to some studies of Type II Diabetes, while there is no cure, it is possible to sometimes reverse it with proper balanced nutrition through diet changes and weight loss. You may be able to reach and hold normal blood sugar levels without medication although this doesn't mean you're completely cured.

 

If an amputation renders a person unable to work, the amputee might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, under certain circumstances. The fact that you have had a body extremity amputated does not automatically qualify you for disability benefits. Also, Social Services may be able to assist with funding for an artificial limb and they can be contacted on 325 2261. If you are a new amputee and require assistance acquiring a wheelchair, The Wheelchair Foundation may be able to assist and can be reached at 322 2393.

 

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