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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Can a Double Amputee Get Two Artificial Legs?
Can a person with both legs amputated get two artificial limbs? I have never seen someone walk on two artificial legs. If that occurs, is it uncommon? Thanks.
It is not unusual for bilateral (or "double") lower limb amputees to receive and be able to walk using a prosthesis on each side. An amputee walking with a prosthesis at a given speed must expend a greater amount of energy/effort compared to a nonamputee walking at this same speed.
This increased energy expenditure is higher for:
- above-knee compared to below-knee amputees
- amputees in whom vascular disease (poor circulation) was the cause of their amputation rather than trauma
- following amputations of both legs compared to one leg.
The likelihood that a bilateral lower limb amputee will successfully walk with a pair of prostheses is dependent on:
- the cause and level of their amputations
- the condition of their residual limbs
- their overall medical condition
- their level of motivation
- the choice of prosthetic components and how well these prostheses fit
- insurance coverage for prosthetic components
- and the time period since the amputations were performed, among other factors.
Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University