At a time in everyone’s life, we come to find ourselves in a situation where the music stops, and we must go on.  The unfortunate truth about life is that the unexpected will happen. Some of us learn from it, some of us change because of it and some of us find our life’s calling because of it. The latter was the case for me.  After our dad picked us up from middle school, we spent that afternoon like we had every afternoon that month. We went to the oncology unit at the hospital, where my brother was admitted.



I remember him. I remember the man in the dark blue sarong the same way I remember the lines on back of my own hand. He was hunched over next to a column on a dirty platform at a railway station in Calcutta, India in the middle of the harsh summer sun. His hands were withered, his fingers and toes looked like tiny nubs, and he was completely malnourished and alone. He had opaque blue eyes, as if fog had taken place of his irises and pupils.



I studied insects in college; my favorite insects were the bees (I found them diligent and so helpful to humankind).  One of my favorite classes was about medical diseases caused by insects. My professors noticed my interest in the medical side of things and connected me with a professor who did clinical research. Our work focused on a clinical trial for children with intractable epilepsy and exposed me early on to patient care and patients.


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that must be addressed. It also helps that, at Hi-Tech Artificial Limbs, we have our own on-site lab and perform all our own fabrication. At this point, a clear diagnostic fitting is performed to test the fit, comfort and function of the prosthesis. Allowing the amputee to try out a prototype version of the prosthesis helps the practitioner make any necessary on-site modifications and helps the amputee become more familiar and comfortable with the device they will be receiving.

When the prosthesis is complete, the next visit will likely be for the amputee patient to return for  a definitive fitting and delivery of their prosthesis. Once again, comfort and proper function will be tested and evaluated. The amputee will continue to receive instructions on proper use, care, schedule of wear, cleaning and any warranties for components and soft prosthetic goods. Family members are always encouraged to be present and ask questions throughout this process so we are creating a very informed “team” and support system for the new amputee. If the amputee will be attending physical therapy, which we always encourage, we will share all information with the therapist as well. Communication remains key throughout any prosthetic process.

At Hi-Tech, we always schedule a 1-2 week follow up after the delivery of a prosthesis and make sure the amputee knows that they are encouraged to call us at any point if they have questions or problems before that time, so we can schedule them sooner. We also provide a 24 hour emergency contact line for all our patients.

Understandably, this process can vary depending on the level or type of amputation, prosthetic design being provided and number of additional fittings that may be necessary for more challenging cases. However, we are able to provide most amputees with their first prosthesis within 3-4 weeks from the initial casting appointment.

Although there are many factors and details involved in the design and creation of a prosthesis, we at Hi-Tech Artificial Limbs try to create a comfortable, friendly atmosphere throughout the entire process. When the amputee patient is at ease, open communication and goals are made a priority, we are able to see some truly inspiring outcomes. At the heart of all the science, anatomy, biomechanics and technology is simply people helping people. After more than 20 years in this field, that never gets old.  

With constantly evolving technology and increasing national exposure, the field of prosthetics has finally begun to garner the attention it has long deserved. While many now know more about prosthetics than ever before, the clinical and technical process involved in designing and creating prosthetic limbs for amputees is still relatively a mystery to most. Increasing exposure and social media attention allow viewers to witness amazing outcomes and aesthetically pleasing prosthetic devices. At Hi-Tech Artificial Limbs, the clinical team strives to educate amputee patients, family members, surgeons, physicians, case workers and physical therapists on the processes involved to reach the final prosthetic outcome. Realistic goals, options and timelines will almost always result in better outcomes.

The very beginning of this process, in my opinion, should simply be the initial meeting between amputee patient and the prosthetist. Because this is a very important relationship, the amputee must make sure that they are completely at ease and comfortable with the practitioner that will be guiding them through this life-changing process. Patients have a choice and should never feel like they are “settling” into a scenario in which they are only being told what is going to happen without feeling like they are the most vital part of the process. Understandably, questions should always be welcomed and even encouraged.

Once the amputee decides they are comfortable with their relationship with the prosthetic practitioner, a thorough evaluation is performed. The prosthetist will take into consideration the patient’s age, health,


level of amputation, motivation, cognitive skills, range of motion and strength. Most importantly, it will be important for the prosthetist to attain a clear and accurate picture of what life looked like for the amputee before losing a limb. Previous or current employment and hobbies will help guide important decisions on prosthetic design as well. After a clear picture is developed, the most appropriate and detailed prosthetic design is formed for the amputee to reach their goals.

The next visit would likely be for casting and measurements. This is when the prosthetist will decide what interface (prosthetic sock, silicone gel) material will be worn against the amputee’s skin inside the prosthesis. Next, the prosthetist will most likely take an extensive amount of length, circumference and angle measurements of the remaining (residual) limb as well as the sound side limb for proper comparison. Finally, a cast or mold is taken of the residual limb resulting in a very accurate representation of the residual limb. This is often done by using a plaster or fiberglass wrap. While computer aided design and scanning techniques are now becoming more and more popular, my practice prefers to use hands-on casting techniques. I feel that it allows the prosthetist to truly feel and capture the limb shape with accuracy as well as greater understanding of any sensitive areas

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