The aim of this two-part article is to offer a concise overview of your journey towards your ultimate goal of a successful prosthetic outcome – that is, to restore your mobility.

So that you can lead an active and normal life, your therapy team, which includes doctors, therapists your prosthetist and not to mention you and your loved ones, will all band together to help you achieve independence. 

An average indication is that the rehabilitation process can take anything from two to six months.  The length of time this process takes can vary considerably taking various factors into account such as how well your prosthesis fits and your own levels of motivation.

The information that follows outlines a number of helpful suggestions to aid your rehabilitation and recovery.  However, it should be borne in mind that the instructions you receive from those on your rehabilitation team should take priority since it is those individuals who are best qualified to evaluate your individual situation.

Whether you have recently found out about your amputation or have known for a length of time, it is important to always remember that you are not alone.  Your physicians are there to offer support, answer your questions and find you the solutions that will work best for you.

Pre-surgical examinations and discussions

If you are to undergo a planned amputation surgical procedure, you will be examined several times in great detail prior to surgery.  Your doctors will explain what takes place during surgery and what will take place after the operation has been performed. 

In the case of a traumatic accident, such conversations will happen post-surgery.

You have the opportunity to ask any questions that are important to you during these discussions and it is a good idea to note down anything that you may wish to ask your doctor prior to these discussions.  Always remember that it is the task of the physician to clearly explain things clearly.

Preparation in advance

Talk to your prosthetist about the types of prostheses available and what is best suited to you

It is of critical importance that you talk to your prosthetist about the types of prostheses available and what is best suited to you in terms of your lifestyle needs. 

Exercises

If at all possible, it is a good idea to begin therapy exercises that you will use after the amputation surgery before your surgery takes place.  This will enable you to strengthen your muscles in advance.  It is also a good idea to practice moving properly from the bed to the wheelchair.  This advance preparation can make the time after the operation a lot easier on you.  Of course, your medical team are there to guide when it comes to the exercises most suitable for you.

Counselling and psychological support

Undergoing an amputation represents a big change in your life and it is always helpful to seek counselling and psychological support which can greatly assist you in working through any issues or fears you may have, while taking the weight off of yourself as well as your friends and family.

Engaging with other amputees

We strongly recommend that you engaging with other amputees who have also undergone amputation surgery.  Others will offer their opinions and advice and will be able to share tips on everything to do with using your new prosthesis. 

At Roger Wolfson and Associates we are here to answer your questions and put you in touch with those that offer support in numerous ways.  Call us on (011) 640 7198 or drop Roger a mail at info@rogerwolfsonandassociates.co.za.