The cost of prosthetics

April 23, 2013 in Medical Care, News

For the 14 people who lost at least one lower-limb during the bombings on Marathon Monday, learning how to incorporate a prosthesis, or a prosthetic leg, is in their near future.

The “C-Leg” prosthetic. Photo credit (www.life2heal.files.wordpress.com)

Simona Manasian, a rehabilitation doctor at Boston Medical Center, said that patients with amputations can be fitted with a temporary prosthesis two to three months after the injury took place. However, according to Paul Martino, the president of United Prosthetics in Dorchester and Braintree, the patients will not be fitted with a permanent prosthesis until a year later, when the residual limb has stopped changing in size.

Over the decades, there has been a rapid advancement of lower-leg prosthetics, such as a battery-powered bionic ankle designed by iWalk that simulates a more natural way of walking than other prosthetics, the “C-Leg,” which uses a microprocessor and a lithium ion battery in order mimic the movements of the knee, and the “Flex-Foot Cheetah,” which stores kinetic energy and was made popular by Olympian Oscar Pistorius.

A combination of various factors, such as type of prosthetic device, level of limb loss, and functional capability, means that not every prosthesis is going to cost the same amount. The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development released a study analyzing the prosthetic cost projections for veterans. Here are the estimated costs:

  • Partial foot ($14,187)
  • Ankle disarticulation ($16,356)
  • Transtibial, or below the knee ($16,690)
  • Knee ($45,563)
  • Tranfemoral, or above the knee ($45,563)
  • Hip ($45,633)
  • Transpelvic disarticulation ($49,208)

 

  • Oscar Pistorius’ “Flex-Leg.” Photo credit (www.disabledlifemedia.com)

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