A Procedure to Help Amputees

Osseointegration is a surgical procedure that is intended to improve function and mobility in people who have had a limb amputated. It is an alternative to socket prostheses. Instead of having a socket that connects your remaining limb to the prosthetic, osseointegration is a direct connection between the bone and an artificial implant. A metal anchor is implanted directly in the bone of your limb, then the prosthesis is attached to the anchor.

Amputees who undergo osseointegration sometimes feel osseoperception, which is the sensation that their prosthesis is actually part of their body. This can help people overcome a psychological hurdle that prevents them from regularly wearing their prosthesis.

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If you need a referral to a surgeon at Centennial Hills Hospital, contact our free physician referral service at 702-388-4888 or search for a surgeon online

Is Osseointegration Right for Me?

This procedure may be a good choice for you if:

  • Your walking distance is limited with a socket prosthesis
  • A socket prosthesis causes you to develop chronic skin problems
  • You don't wear your socket prosthetic as much as you should because it's not comfortable

How Osseointegration Works

There are two primary types of osseointegration procedures:

  • Screw shape prosthesis (OPRA) – This system uses a screw shape design. The implant length within the body is relatively short (80mm). Patients will not be able to start wearing a prosthesis on their abutment fully unsupported for 6-12 months.
  • Press fit prosthesis (ILP) – This system uses an alloy rod with a 3D tripod surface structure with a longer implant length (140-180mm). The healing process is quicker. Some patients are able to start putting full weight on their prosthesis as soon as six weeks.

All procedures require time for the bone and residual limb to fully heal and strengthen around the metal implant.

Patients will undergo rehabilitation after the procedure to learn how to use the new prosthesis with the aid of crutches. Rehabilitation can take 3-5 weeks. A normal active lifestyle can be resumed once you are able to fully support yourself with your new prosthesis.

Benefits and Things to Consider About Osseointegration

Osseointegration has both pros and cons. It can change your life for the better, but it is also a major surgical procedure with a long recovery time and rehabilitation.

Benefits may include:

  • Increased use of a prosthesis
  • More stability in walking and standing
  • Ability to walk longer distances
  • No skin problems that are associated with socket prosthetics
  • Easy to remove and replace a prosthesis

Things to consider about osseointegration:

  • It's a surgical procedure with a potentially long recovery time
  • Need to regularly maintain and clean the interface between the skin and implant
  • Risk of superficial skin infections or deep tissue infections
  • Potential for the abutment to bend or break
  • Limitations on participation in high impact sports