Speaker: Rehabilitation is key following traumatic upper limb amputation

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A speaker at the International African American Prosthetic and Orthotic Coalition Annual Meeting presented key rehabilitation techniques for patients with traumatic upper limb amputations.

“Our goal was to identify components of pre- and post-prosthetic rehab[ilitation] programs, and identify the impact of a team approach in limb loss,” Sarah Fletchall, OTR/L, CHT, MPA, FAOTA, manager of burn rehabilitation at the Firefighters Burn Center in Memphis, Tenn., said.

She said following an amputation, patients should have immediate access to education, peer support and an appropriate level of funding. They also should seek access to a specialized therapeutic team with experience in treating skin conditions, peripheral nerve loss, pain and prosthetic overuse issues, as well as have experience with documentation.

“Using a team approach, patients could receive training in movement, endurance, strength, hand dominance, self-care and skills for prosthetic operation at home and work,” Fletchall said. “They may also receive mirror therapy or other techniques for pain management.”

Proper funding is important, she added; “however, so is education, appropriate prosthetic delivery and long-term follow-up.”

Fletchall said, “The goal is to return to the patient to the same level of activity they were before the amputation. Appropriate rehabilitation is a way to achieve that.” – by Shawn M. Carter



Fletchall S. Trauma and upper limb loss: Rehabilitation. Presented at: International African American Prosthetic and Orthotic Coalition Annual Meeting; May 19-21, 2016; Memphis, Tenn.

Disclosure: Fletchall reports no relevant financial disclosures. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.