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Popular Questions and Answers

Why does it matter if my patient sees an upper limb prosthetic specialist?

As upper limb (UL) prosthetic rehabilitation specialists, we work exclusively with the smallest subset of the amputee population (less than 10 percent worldwide), who also have the most specialized prosthetic needs. This specialization means that our clinical team successfully rehabilitates hundreds of patients around the world each year using our proven outcome measures, while most general prosthetic providers may only attempt one or two cases in the same time period. The results speak for themselves. Surveys show that many UL amputees who are rehabilitated at an Arm Dynamics facility wear their prosthesis at least eight hours per day.

Will insurance cover the cost of a prosthesis?

Most health insurance plans and workers’ compensation groups provide some level of coverage for prosthetic devices, but the extent of that coverage varies considerably from one provider to another. Our patient advocacy and insurance authorization specialists have a long and successful track record of working with insurance providers to gain approval for upper limb prosthetic rehabilitation services, even in cases that have previously been denied.

How much does a prosthesis cost?
The cost of an upper limb (UL) prosthesis depends on two primary factors:
  1. The patient’s amputation level (high-level cases are more complex)
  2. The type of prosthetic device required to help the patient achieve their rehabilitation goal
Since every case is completely unique, it’s impossible to say exactly what a UL prosthetic solution will cost until one of our specialists has evaluated a patient.
Do your prosthetists offer pre-surgical consultations?

Yes, all of our centers offer pre-surgical consultations with patients and with surgeons. Click here to request a pre-surgical consultation.

How soon after an amputation can my patient be seen for a prosthetic evaluation?

This timeframe varies depending on the severity of the injury and how the patient is feeling. It’s never too early for a patient to be seen by one of our prosthetists, but generally, we recommend that patients schedule a prosthetic evaluation for 2-3 weeks after their surgery.

Are there actually functional prosthetic devices for partial hand amputees and other levels of upper limb loss?

Yes, there are many functional prosthetic options to consider. Over the past five to ten years, a variety of new upper limb technologies have emerged, including functional devices for partial finger and partial hand amputees; multi-articulating hands and fingers for higher level amputees; and unique body-powered prostheses for sports and other activities.

How long does it take to get insurance approval/authorization?

We expect to hear back from the insurance carrier within 30 days of submitting an authorization request. If an authorization request is denied, we submit an appeal with additional justification information. Our patient advocacy and insurance authorization specialists have a long and successful track record of working with insurance providers to gain approval for upper limb prosthetic rehabilitation services, even in cases that have previously been denied.

What justifies ‘medical necessity’?

The most basic rule of medical necessity is that the patient is unable to perform their activities of daily living (ADLs) without the proposed prosthesis. While ADLs are used to demonstrate independence, they do not entirely cover each patient’s individual needs. Some patients need to wear a prosthesis to protect skin grafts or burns at the amputation site, or they have other medical challenges that impact the type of prosthesis that’s recommended. To prove medical necessity, we must clearly justify why the specific prosthesis we recommend is the most appropriate one for that patient.

How long will it take to fit the prosthesis?
Once a patient’s evaluation is complete and both the prosthetist and patient have agreed to a rehabilitation plan, the patient will be scheduled for a three to five-day Comprehensive Accelerated Fitting Process™. During this time, the patient will work simultaneously with both the prosthetist and an upper limb prosthetic therapy specialist to fit and refine a custom temporary (a.k.a “preparatory”) prosthesis that achieves their functional goals and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. After finalizing the preparatory prosthesis, a final (“definitive”) prosthesis is created for the patient to take home with them.
Depending on the complexity of the case, the clinical team may elect to have the patient take their preparatory prosthesis home for a period of time to ensure it is meeting their needs before creating the definitive prosthesis, which can extend the timeframe, but in most cases the process is completed from start to finish in approximately one week.
When a patient has to travel for prosthetic care, how do you care for them after they return home?

We stay in close contact with our patients after they return home. Phone calls and emails are generally used based on patient preference, but we also use video conferencing when a patient wants to show us something or would like guidance on how to approach a specific task with their prosthesis. In addition to regular interaction with an Arm Dynamics clinician, patients work with a local therapist who partners with us to provide the patient with consistent care. When a prosthesis needs to be repaired, the patient simply mails us their device.

How long does it take for a patient to learn to use their prosthesis?

The learning curve varies from person to person, depending on a variety of factors, but in most cases, a patient will learn to control their prosthesis within a few hours of fitting their initial (preparatory) prosthesis. After working with a therapist on basic controls such as opening and closing of the hand, rotating the wrist, or position the elbow, training progresses to tasks like picking up objects, eating and getting dressed. After receiving their final (definitive) prosthesis, the patient will continue to learn, practice and improve the functional use of their definitive prosthesis with the help of their therapist – often achieving proficiency within six to eight weeks after the expedited fitting.

Do your patients really wear their prostheses?

Yes! Our patients wear their prostheses at home, school, work, in social settings and for recreational activities. Surveys show that many of our patients wear their prosthesis on an average of more than eight hours per day.

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