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A Certified Prosthetist, C.P., is a prosthetist that has passed the certification standards of The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc. or the B.O.C., The Board for Certification in Prosthetics & Orthotics, and maintains certification through continuing education programs.
On average, 507 people lose a limb every day in the United States, resulting in roughly 185,000 new amputees each year. Amputations can occur as a result of trauma, diabetes, vascular disease, cancer, or bacterial infection. You can reduce the risk of amputation by practicing good foot hygiene, especially if you are diabetic, quitting smoking, and practicing good safety habits when operating machinery such as lawnmowers, etc., and having a healthy, active lifestyle. Some people are born with a limb difference and are also candidates for prostheses. The birth prevalence of congenital limb difference in 2007 was 25.64 per 100,000 live births.
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Generally, if the volume and shape of your residual limb is stable, the components are designed to last 2 to 4 years. However, your initial prosthetic socket will most likely need replacement after 6 to 12 months due to significant volume changes in the residual limb. In the early stages after limb loss and in the first few weeks of using a prosthesis there are significant changes in the shape and volume of your residual limb. After surgery and in the healing process, although you have been using a shrinker sock, there will still be a build up of fluid in your limb. Once you are active in your prosthesis and exerting forces on your leg, the excess fluids will be pushed out of your leg and the shape of your residuum will therefore change. This can be managed initially with prosthetic socks but, eventually, you may need a new socket until the volume and size of your limb stabilizes.
A prosthetist, as defined by The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc., (ABC), is a person who measures, fits, or services a prosthesis as prescribed by a licensed physician, and who assists in the formulation of the prosthesis prescription for the replacement of external parts of the human body lost due to amputation or congenital deformities or absences. A prosthesis is an artificial device to replace or augment a missing or impaired part of the body. It is made out of several parts, depending on what type of prosthesis it is and the limb it is replacing. A lower limb prosthesis can have a foot, ankle joint, knee joint and possibly a hip joint, depending on the level of amputation. An upper limb prosthesis can be a finger, several fingers, a hand or hook, wrist joint, elbow joint, and possibly a shoulder joint. Every prosthesis will have a “socket” component, which is the portion of the prosthesis that is custom made to comfortably fit your residual limb. The fit of this socket is crucial to the function of your prosthesis. You and your prosthetist will work together to be sure to maintain the ideal fit of your socket to ensure the ideal function of your new prosthesis.