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The fitting process for a prosthesis usually begins when your residual limb is no longer tender or swollen. Typically, this is four to six weeks after surgery. In some cases, immediate postoperative care will be used and a socket or rigid dressing will be placed on the limb during the first week following surgery.
The Upper Extremity Prosthetics Program (UEPP) utilizes a fitting protocol that includes casting the person’s residual limb and fabricating a series of diagnostic test sockets. Our Insignia Laser Scanning System captures the precise shape and contour of the residual limb and computer-stores a series of three-dimensional images. Your clinician will review the scanned images with you and together, you can make fine adjustments.
Our patients tell us they like being involved in the fitting process and having their scanned images and anatomical data available at the click of a mouse. The final modified scan is sent to a Hanger Clinic Central Design Center and the specifications are fed directly to an automated carver. The result is a precision form that is used to fabricate a test socket. The test socket is manufactured from a thermoplastic material and then fitted and refined during your following visits. Once the test socket has been perfected, a "definitive," or final, socket will be made from lightweight thermoplastic or from a resin-matrix composite similar to fiberglass.
Plaster casting is another, more hands-on process that is sometimes used to create a custom mold for the socket. Your prosthetist will decide the most effective means for casting your socket.
The socket is the connecting point of the prosthesis and the patient's body. It is the most critical element in prosthetic design. UEPP (Upper Extremity Prosthetic Program) sockets are based on the same type of anatomical research as the Hanger Clinic ComfortFlex™ Socket System for the lower extremity. Our sockets are anatomically contoured, incorporating unique channels and grooves for the underlying anatomy of the residual limb. ComfortFlex™ sockets promote muscle growth, improve suspension, and increase range of motion. With a myoelectric prosthesis (a prosthesis that sends electrical impulses to the residual limb which in turn produces contraction of the muscles), it is especially important that the socket maintain total contact with the user's residual limb. Crafted from advanced thermoplastic material, this soft, pliable interface meets the main requirement of every prosthetic user comfort.