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Terminology

Prostheses are complex devices. Prosthetic treatments merge science, art, engineering and health care knowledge.  There are many considerations involved in a patient assessment as well as many different types of components available to fabricate the most appropriate prosthesis for each individual patient.

Common Prosthetic Terminology (Source: Award Prosthetics – Burnaby, BC)

Below are some terms commonly used in prosthetics.  For a more comprehensive glossary click here.

AK Above the knee – (Trans Femoral)
Alignment Position of a prosthetic socket
Amputation Removal of all or part of a limb due to infection, injury, tumor, disease or trauma
Amputee A person who has had all or part of a limb removed/amputated or is born without a limb
Amputation (Traumatic) A spontaneous removal of a limb for example as a result of an accident
Bilateral Bi means both, meaning both sides
BE Below elbow (Trans Radial)
BK Below the knee (Trans Tibial)
Carbon Fiber Non-stretch carbon fabric used to reinforce lightweight composite resin structures, such as prosthetic components and socket
Certified Prosthetist CP(c) Someone who designs, fits and makes artificial limbs and who’s education and training and expertise is recognized and CBCPO credentialed by Orthotics Prosthetics Canada.
Claudication Pain in the limb upon exertion – due to circulatory insufficiency
Congenital limb deficiency When all or parts of limb/s do not develop normally in the womb or are missing
CPO(c) Canadian Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist
Disarticulation Limb is amputated through the joint
Doffing Taking the prosthesis off
Donning Putting the prosthesis on
ECG Electro-Cardiograph, recording of the electrical activity of the heart
Edema Swelling of the tissues (also spelled oedema)
Endo Inside (as in: Endoskeletal Prosthesis – one with internal supporting structures)
Exo Outside (as in: Exoskeletal Prosthesis – one with external rigid fiberglass structure)
Gait training Learning to walk with a prosthesis
Interface Inner surface of socket, or portion of prosthesis closest to the skin
Liner Soft socket rolled or pulled over the residual limb and used for protection, comfort and in some cases as a suspension device
Lower extremity Lower limb
Occupational therapy Training to maximize independence in daily life
PPAM Pneumatic Post Amputation Mobility Aid is an inflatable device (not a prosthesis) that is used by some physiotherapists as part of the rehabilitation programme prior to prosthetic rehabilitation
Patella Kneecap
Peripheral vascular disease Disease of the blood vessels from a variety of causes
Phantom pain Painful feeling in the part of the extremity that has been amputated
Phantom sensation Awareness of the amputated limb although not described as pain
Phantom limb Sensation of the presence of the limb that has been amputated
Physical therapy Therapeutic exercises in order to treat a disease or a disability
Pistoning When a liner stretches so that the stump elongates – or the vertical motion of a residual limb inside a prosthetic socket
Prosthesis A fabricated/artificial substitute for a body part that is missing
Prostheses More than one prosthesis (plural form)
Residual limb The remaining part of the limb after amputation (the stump)
Socket The part of the prosthesis (artificial limb) that fits around the residual limb – and fits around the Liner or socket insert if one is used
Socket insert A soft form that is contoured to fit around the residual limb and fits inside the Socket to provide for some increased padding and comfort for the residual limb
Suction socket A socket on an artificial leg that excludes the entry of air and is held to the residual limb by the suction of negative pressure maintained within the socket
Total contact Total contact between the residual limb and socket at all points
Transradial Amputation below the elbow (Through the radius and ulna bones)
Transfemoral (TF) Amputation above the knee (Through the femur bone)
Transmetasatal (TM) Amputation through the metatarsal foot bones (Partial foot amputation)
Transtibial (TT) Amputation below the knee (Through the tibia and fibula bones)
Transhumeral Amputation above the elbow (Through the humerus bone)
Upper extremity Upper limb
Vascular amputation Amputation surgery performed as a result of impaired circulation of blood through the blood vessels of the limb.