This article explores the use of prosthetics as a vital part of rehabilitation and healthcare of persons with limb loss. Focus is on veterans and service-members with limb loss resulting from the Vietnam, Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) conflicts.
Prosthetic care is a vital aspect of healthcare and rehabilitation for veterans and service members with major traumatic limb loss. Our survey queried 581 veterans and service members with limb loss from the Vietnam and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) conflicts. Among survey participants, 78.2% from the Vietnam conflict and 90.5% from the OIF/OEF conflict currently use prosthetic devices. In Vietnam respondents, 78% received prosthetic care from private sources, 16% from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) prosthetic laboratories, 0.9% from Department of Defense (DOD), and 5% from multiple sources. In OIF/OEF respondents, 42% received prosthetic care from private sources, 9% percent from VA, 39% from DOD, and 10% from multiple sources. Participants identified their satisfaction with current prosthetic devices and prosthetic services. Reports of pain, sweating, skin irritation, and problems with socket fit continue to be significant issues for participants from both conflicts regardless of level of amputation or site of service. In those with upper-limb loss who used myoelectric prostheses, minimal effect on prosthesis use and satisfaction was noted. Among lower-limb loss participants from both conflicts, notable differences existed in prosthesis satisfaction by source of care.
Berke, G. M., Fergason, J., Milani, J. R., Hattingh, J., McDowell, M., Nguyen, V. and Reiber, G. E., 2010. Comparison of satisfaction with current prosthetic care in veterans and servicemembers from Vietnam and OIF/OEF conflicts with major traumatic limb loss. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 47(4), pp. 361-372.