This month, we continue to follow Ted Macy and Marvin Winton, two patients who suffered high level, above elbow amputations.
Ted Macy was 21 years old when he was in a motorcycle accident, seriously injuring his right arm. Hoping to regain function, he immediately underwent nerve transplant surgery; however, it was unsuccessful.
Ted spent the next 20 years with no function in his right arm. "I was in pain all of the time,"
Ted said. "My arm just hung there, so it caused back pain and shoulder pain, and I was on lots of medication. Finally, I decided I wanted to do something about it."
This past April, Ted opted for transhumeral amputation surgery. "My arm was causing so much pain every day, and I couldn't use it for anything, so I decided I had let it go long enough."
Ted felt that, even if a prosthetic arm wasn't an option, the amputation would be worth it to relieve some of the pain caused by his arm. When asked how he felt about his decision, Ted stated, "I should have done it a long time ago!"
We began working with Ted shortly after his surgery, and after his initial evaluation, John Brandt, CPO, felt Ted would be a good candidate for the Dynamic Arm. Further evaluation by upper extremity expert, Randy Alley, of Biodesigns in Southern California, confirmed this, and with Randy's assistance, we began the process of fitting and fabricating Ted's right transhumeral Dynamic Arm.
Ted has had his finished arm for several weeks now, and he states that the more he practices with the prosthesis, the more functional it becomes for him as he integrates it more into his everyday life. Since he has gotten so used to left side single limb tasks because of his long term brachial plexus injury on his right side, now having a functional prosthesis that can assist him in tasks is going to take some getting used to. That is something that he is looking forward to! He is very pleased with the results so far!
Marvin Winton was first referred to Optimus in November, 2009, following a left shoulder disarticulation amputation due to severe infection. He originally opted for a body-powered prosthetic arm; however, progress was halted early in March, 2010, when he also underwent a right transfemoral amputation.
Once Marvin had healed from his transfemoral surgery, John Brandt re-evaluated him, determining that Marvin would also be a good candidate for the Dynamic Arm. As an above elbow and above knee prosthetic wearer, Marvin faces very unique challenges, but has maintained a strong determination to get the most out of his prosthetic devices as he possibly can.
As an Army Veteran, Marvin receives physical therapy at the VA, and is gaining the strength and stability needed to walk on his prosthetic leg. In the meantime, he states that he gets quite a bit of use out of the Dynamic Arm.
"I wear it every day, and when I'm in my wheelchair, it's very helpful to pick small things up, and pull things toward me." Marvin explained that, as he practices every day, he is getting better at controlling its movements, and he states,
"I'm VERY glad I got it!"
Reminder: The 8th course in the "Prosthetics for Therapists" series will cover Upper Extremity Prosthetics.