FAQ | Limb Clinic | Institute of Biomedical Engineering | UNB

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Institute of Biomedical Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

I am a new arm amputee. How long do I have to wait before I can be fitted for a prosthesis?

If you are recovering from a new amputation, we need to wait for your wounds to heal before we can start the fitting process. This is usually 4-6 weeks after your amputation. While you are healing, it is important for you to continue to move the remaining part of your arm as much and as far as possible to prevent stiffness.

I just found out my child will be born without an arm. What should I do?

We highly recommend that you contact the War Amps by calling the CHAMP program at 1-800-267-4023. The CHAMP program provides support, information and financial assistance to child amputees and their families.

We welcome you to make an appointment to meet with us to discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s future and prosthetic care. Children born missing a limb learn to do all of the same things that other children do, and often can take part in the same hobbies and activities. Sometimes they just require adaptations or special equipment.

What can I expect when I come to my first appointment?

Usually the first appointment is set-up in conjunction with one of the physiatrists (specialists in physical medicine) from the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation. You would first meet with us, at our clinic on the UNB campus, to discuss your needs and concerns regarding a prosthesis. You will then meet with one of the physiatrists at the Stan Cassidy Centre (located on Priestman Street), to discuss medical concerns and/or issues. We then will all meet together to come up with a plan for your prosthetic fitting.

How long will it take to get a prosthesis?

Making a prosthesis is a complicated process and can take a long time to complete. Every prosthesis is customized for every person and some components need to be ordered from other countries or designed and fabricated in house, which can cause delays. The fitting process, from the time a cast is taken to the final fit and training, usually takes 4 to 8 weeks.

How much does a prosthesis cost?

There are many factors that influence the cost of an upper-limb prosthesis. A basic passive or cosmetic prosthesis with no powered motion can range from a few thousand dollars and up, depending on the level of the amputation and the type of components that are chosen.

Electrically powered and controlled arms will range significantly higher, again depending on components used.

Our staff can guide clients through the various funding methods and agencies.

Do I need a doctor’s referral to come see you?

Yes, a doctor’s referral is required to book an appointment. If you have a recent, traumatic injury, we also would like to have copies of the relevant medical reports and photos, if possible.

You are located at a university. Does that mean you only do research fittings?

In 1981, a prosthetic fitting centre was established at UNB to give practical support for the research being done in electronic controls for artificial arms. This clinic has evolved over thirty years to become one of Canada’s leading clinics specializing in all aspects of upper limb prosthetic fittings. While we still take part in various research projects, our main focus is serving our amputee clients with the best possible fitting options.

Can I bring someone with me to my appointment?

We encourage you to bring your family to an appointment. It is important for all family members to be involved in the fitting process, and to have an opportunity to ask questions. If your child is missing a limb, we also feel it is important for siblings to take part in certain appointments.

There is a prosthetics centre close to my home. Why should I come to your centre?

While most prosthetics clinics will do occasional upper limb fittings, the field has evolved into a complex and technical specialty requiring specific tools, equipment and training. Our clinic has grown with and contributed to the development of powered upper limb prosthetics. We are uniquely qualified to meet the needs of upper limb amputees as we use a team approach with our prosthetist and occupational therapist working together, and support from in-house technicians and engineers.

How long will a prosthesis last?

The useful life of a prosthesis, as with any product, will be greatly affected by the degree of use and care it is subjected to.

Most funding agencies expect at least five years of use for a prosthesis with occasional maintenance and repairs. Physiological change, such as growth, can require refitting or modification of a prosthesis before its components are worn out.

Is there a warranty on my prosthesis?

Most manufacturers of components such as hands and batteries will cover their products for one year. We also warrant our materials and workmanship for one year, and the fit of the prosthesis for three months.

More Questions?

We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. Please contact us.