Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Real World of Prosthetics Prosthetists Are Highly Trained Board-Certified Medical Professionals

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Real World of Prosthetics Prosthetists Are Highly Trained Board-Certified Medical Professionals

Article excerpt

Regarding "A Hard Path to Walk: Startup Firm Wants to Bring Prosthetic Limbs Into the 21st Century" (Feb. 5) - published at post-gazette.com under the headline "Artificial Limbs, a Backwater of Medicine, Get a New Look":

This article is flawed, erroneous and misleading in terms of prosthetists and prosthetic care.

Prosthetists in Pennsylvania are licensed under the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine, the same board that licenses medical doctors. To become a prosthetist, one must obtain a master's degree in the field of prosthetics, complete a National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education-approved residency program, pass the rigorous testing to become certified by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics and meet all educational and experiential requirements to apply for a license.

The prosthetist, many times along with a patient's physician and/or physical therapist, conducts an evaluation that includes - at minimum - an assessment of patients' physical and cognitive capabilities, medical histories and additional disorders as well as cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal and neurological examinations. The prosthetist then conducts a mobility predictor test, in many cases the AMP PRO, which is a widely accepted tool used to assess the patient's functional level and capabilities. The results of the evaluation and testing, not "intuition," are what the prosthetist relies on in selecting appropriate prosthetic components.

The prosthetist will then, either by scan or mold (not "Play-Doh"), create the basis for the prosthetic socket to be fabricated. Fabrication is done by either the prosthetist, prosthetic technician or Food and Drug Administration-approved fabrication lab. Never is a "rubber" prosthesis pulled "off a shelf" and put on a patient.

Once completed, a series of fittings is needed to achieve the best fit. …

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