Amputee Coalition Fact Sheet

Upper Limb Loss: Questions to Ask Your Prosthetist

Web Development Fact Sheet

Last updated 11/2015 | Download PDF

Finding a prosthetist who understands the unique issues involved with upper-limb amputation is important in getting the best functional outcome with upper-limb prostheses. Unfortunately, not all prosthetists have wide experience fitting persons with upper-limb loss, which is relatively uncommon. (Estimates of major limb loss cite 15 times as many lower-limb amputees as upper-limb amputees.[i])

While there are some things in common with fitting any prosthesis, skill in addressing the mobility issues of lower-limb loss may not translate into an understanding of the functionality issues of upper-limb loss.

The Amputee Coalition’s Upper Limb Loss Advisory Committee suggests the following questions to help you evaluate a prosthetist’s experience and comfort level with upper-limb prostheses:

  • Have you fit many people with my amputation level?
  • How many upper-limb patients have you fit in the past 6 months? In the past 12 months?
  • May I speak with another client for whom you have made a similar prosthesis to what I will wear?
  • Are you certified through any professional organizations?
  • Is your lab equipped to make repairs to my prosthesis or will it be sent out to another location?
  • Is your office “in network” with my insurance plan? If not, what are my options?
  • If there is a difference between what my insurance pays and what you charge, am I responsible for paying the difference?
  • What are my options regarding type of prosthesis?
  • What are the pros and cons of each type?
  • What is your comfort level and familiarity with specific socket designs and with various manufacturers’ components?
  • What are my options regarding the fit of my prosthesis?
  • What are my options regarding the appearance of my prosthesis?
  • Do you work with a therapist or therapy group on training for optimal use and success?
  • Are you willing to work with me to find the best prosthetic tools to use in my daily activities?

Your prosthetist does his or her best work when you take an active part in the process. Questions like these can help you establish that role from the beginning of your relationship.

See also:

Working Together for a Successful Outcome   https://www.amputee-coalition.org/resources/a-successful-outcome/

Your prosthetist does his or her best work when you take an active part in the process. Questions like these can help you establish that role from the beginning of your relationship.


[1] Kathryn Ziegler-Graham, PhD, et al. “Estimating the Prevalence of Limb Loss in the United States – 2005 to 2050,” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 89 (2008): 422-429.


It is not the intention of the Amputee Coalition to provide specific medical or legal advice but rather to provide consumers with information to better understand their health and healthcare issues. The Amputee Coalition does not endorse any specific treatment, technology, company, service or device. Consumers are urged to consult with their healthcare providers for specific medical advice or before making any purchasing decisions involving their care.

National Limb Loss Resource Center, a program of the Amputee Coalition, located at 900 East Hill Ave., Suite 390, Knoxville, TN 37915 | 888/267-5669

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