Merck Manual

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Prosthesis Loosening

By

Jan J. Stokosa

, CP, Stokosa Prosthetic Clinic

Last full review/revision Dec 2019| Content last modified Dec 2019
Click here for the Professional Version

Sometimes a prosthesis becomes loose while it is being worn. A loose prosthesis can result in injury to the skin and loss of stability, possibly leading to falls. The prosthesis socket may become loose because of

  • Changes in the residual limb (for example, muscle atrophy or fluid volume change)

  • Compression or thinning of the gel interface

Suction may also be lost because the residual limb (stump) shrinks, the person loses weight, or the interface worn between the residual limb and socket thins or stretches out.

Mechanical problems may be due to a loss of suspension or connection to the residual limb or body. A suction valve or vacuum pump (used to form a tight seal) may malfunction. The suction or vacuum sealing sleeve may have developed a hole allowing air to enter and the prosthesis to slip off slightly. In upper limb cases, a harness or strap may have stretched or torn.

People typically have instructions from their prosthetist (an expert who designs, fits, builds, and adjusts prostheses) on how to troubleshoot problems with their specific prosthesis. If these steps do not remedy the problem, they should see their prosthetist to assess and correct the problem.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version

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