Immediately following surgery you will be taken to the recovery room where you will be motioned. Once stable you will be transferred to the orthopedic ward.
You will be set up with a button to press to administer pain relief through a machine called a PCA machine (Patient Controlled Analgesia) as well as given ketamine intravenously.
The post-op protocol will vary slightly from patient to patient but generally you can expect your drain to be removed after 48 hours or once the ketamine infusion has been ceased. Once this is removed you can sit out of bed. The dressing will be reduced usually on the third day post-op in order to make movement easier.
You will be visited by a physiotherapist who will prescribe exercises and to assist and supervise you with your rehabilitation and mobilisation.
Partial weight-bearing and the fitting of the lower prosthesis can take place as early as a few days after the second surgery. This is done under careful supervision of the team. It is now that the rehabilitation stage and gait training can begin.
This stage begins with weight loading using a specialised stump loader fitted onto the end of implant. You will begin the loading stage by doing five minutes of loading three times a day where you are required to push down through the loader to reach a designated weight using a set of scales. This weight and time of loading will increase slowly throughout a few days.
Once you can comfortably weight load at a weight of half your body weight (this is done by loading using a stump loader onto a set of scales) you will be fitted with a light leg and gait training can commence.
During the gait training and loading period some muscle soreness is to be expected as the muscles are being used in new and different ways and will need time to adjust and build up strength.
In order to ensure the implant is safely integrated into the bone you are required to only partial weight-bear for the first 12 weeks. This means walking with at least one crutch or walking stick for this time period.
While it is a very exciting time and the urge to push yourself is often enticing it is very strongly recommended you build up your walking slowly to avoid any injuries caused by going too hard too soon.
Care should be paid to the opening (stoma) through which the external adaptor passes out of the stump. There will be a small amount of discharge from the stoma. This amount varies from patient to patient and some have none at all.
With normal daily hygiene the risk of infection is very low. Washing once a day in the shower, paying attention to the stump and stoma is all that is needed.
Excessive rotation such as pivoting and sharp twisting movements should be avoided as a general rule. However, if high levels of strain should occur, the safety shear pins in the external implant system will break to protect against a bone fracture occurring. The system yields and the bone remains undamaged. Safety is paramount and the system has been designed to protect the bone during any large strain or vigorous movements. The safety pins are easily exchanged by the prosthetist and in the near future there is the possibility they will be able to be replaced by the patient.