FAQ


Do you take my insurance?
We accept most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicare advantage plans, NC Medicaid, NC HealthChoice, Blue Cross, Cigna, TRICARE, CHAMPVA, WellPath, MedCost, Coventry, Great-West, and workers’ compensation. Please see payment options under Services for a full list!  

When can I be seen?
Setting up an appointment is easy, give us a call.

What do I bring to my appointment?
It’s important to have your insurance cards with you at all times. For all initial appointments you must present a prescription. If you prefer to fill out the paperwork before your visit please refer to our forms page .
*Medicare Supplier Standards are only required for people with Medicare and/or Medicaid insurance.

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What do I need to receive therapeutic diabetic footwear?
If you are a beneficiary of Medicare and/or Medicaid we are required to fulfill certain requirements that present your condition as documented by your primary care provider.

To receive diabetic footwear we must have a signed certificate of medical necessity accompanied by the appropriate notes from a recent doctor’s visit. Please read the brochure under Forms entitled "Dear Medicare Diabetic Patients".  Call us anytime if you have any questions.

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What is a prosthetist?
A prosthetist, as defined by The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc., (ABC), is a person who measures, fits, or services a prosthesis as prescribed by a licensed physician, and who assists in the formulation of the prosthesis prescription for the replacement of external parts of the human body lost due to amputation or congenital deformities or absences. A prosthesis is an artificial device to replace or augment a missing or impaired part of the body. It is made out of several parts, depending on what type of prosthesis it is and the limb it is replacing. A lower limb prosthesis can have a foot, ankle joint, knee joint and possibly a hip joint, depending on the level of amputation. An upper limb prosthesis can be a finger, several fingers, a hand or hook, wrist joint, elbow joint, and possibly a shoulder joint. Every prosthesis will have a “socket” component, which is the portion of the prosthesis that is custom made to comfortably fit your residual limb. The fit of this socket is crucial to the function of your prosthesis. You and your prosthetist will work together to be sure to maintain the ideal fit of your socket to ensure the ideal function of your new prosthesis.

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A Certified Prosthetist, C.P., is a prosthetist that has passed the certification standards of The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc. or the B.O.C., The Board for Certification in Prosthetics & Orthotics, and maintains certification through continuing education programs.

How frequently does limb loss occur in the United States and what are the causes?

On average, 507 people lose a limb every day in the United States, resulting in roughly 185,000 new amputees each year. Amputations can occur as a result of trauma, diabetes, vascular disease, cancer, or bacterial infection. You can reduce the risk of amputation by practicing good foot hygiene, especially if you are diabetic, quitting smoking, and practicing good safety habits when operating machinery such as lawnmowers, etc., and having a healthy, active lifestyle. Some people are born with a limb difference and are also candidates for prostheses. The birth prevalence of congenital limb difference in 2007 was 25.64 per 100,000 live births.

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What is an orthotist?
An orthotist is a clinician involved with assessment, design, fabrication, and evaluation of orthoses, and/or assists in the formulation of orthoses. An orthosis is a device that is intended to mechanically compensate for a pathological condition. A Certified Orthotist, C.O., is an orthotist that has passed the certification standards of The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc. or the B.O.C., The Board for Certification in Prosthetics & Orthotics, and maintains certification through continuing education programs.

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When do I need to see a prosthetist?

Your physician will refer you to a prosthetist after surgery but if you know you are facing the prospect of the amputation of a limb it is often helpful to see a prosthetist before surgery. Consultation with a prosthetist will help to ease your fears about life after an amputation. In fact, it is a good idea to interview a few prosthetists in your area and tour their facilities before choosing who you would like to work with. You will have a life-long relationship with your prosthetist so you should feel comfortable and cared for in their office. Bio-Tech offers a “ Life After Amputation” booklet as well as a packet of information with many resources for review. At some of our offices, we have amputees on staff who are always more than willing to talk to our patients and demonstrate how their prostheses work.

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How soon after the amputation surgery can a prosthesis be fit?

The process of creating your prosthesis can begin once your sutures have been removed and your residual limb has healed. On average, it takes approximately four to eight weeks for the wound to heal as long as there are no post-operative complications. People with diabetes or dysvascular conditions may take longer to heal. Please see the "Timeline" under Forms for an outline of the steps taken to build your prosthesis. 

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Will I be able to do all of the things I did before I lost my limb?
Our goal at Bio-Tech is to get you back to your prior level of activity. On your first visit or consultation, you will talk to your prosthetist about your hopes and goals for your future as well as your activity level before your surgery. Your prosthetist will design your prosthesis according to these needs. It is your job to keep a positive attitude and work with your prosthetist, doctor and therapist to achieve the best results possible. Although your prosthesis will never feel as natural as your own limb, it can help you to do most, if not all, of the things you enjoy quite well. We are here to support you by giving you the tools to achieve your goals!

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Is wearing a prosthesis painful?
No! If a prosthesis is uncomfortable then you won’t wear it, and that is not good! Your prosthesis should not cause any harm to your residual limb. If you are feeling any discomfort, you may need to have your prosthesis adjusted and should see your prosthetist. It is important to maintain regular follow-up appointments to keep your prosthesis comfortable and functional for you!

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How will my prosthesis stay on?
There are many different suspension methods available and your prosthetist will discuss the choices with you to decide which would be the best for your level of activity. Suspension can be attained with the use of straps, with a pin-lock mechanism attached to a liner, a suspension sleeve, or suction. You will be part of the team that will decide which method best fits your lifestyle.

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What kind of shoes can I wear with my prosthesis?

Almost any type of shoe can be worn with your prosthesis but you want your prosthesis fitted with the shoe and heel height you wear most often. Be sure to bring the shoes you wear most often when you are fitted for your limb! Athletic shoes are often recommended due to the fact they are lightweight and slip-resistant. There are some prosthetic feet that allow for adjustment so that shoes of different height can be worn but most prostheses ideally work with shoes of one height.

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How long will my prosthesis last?
Generally, if the volume and shape of your residual limb is stable, the components are designed to last 2 to 4 years. However, your initial prosthetic socket will most likely need replacement after 6 to 12 months due to significant volume changes in the residual limb. In the early stages after limb loss and in the first few weeks of using a prosthesis there are significant changes in the shape and volume of your residual limb. After surgery and in the healing process, although you have been using a shrinker sock, there will still be a build up of fluid in your limb. Once you are active in your prosthesis and exerting forces on your leg, the excess fluids will be pushed out of your leg and the shape of your residuum will therefore change. This can be managed initially with prosthetic socks but, eventually, you may need a new socket until the volume and size of your limb stabilizes.

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How long can I wear my prosthesis?
There are no real time restrictions on wearing your prosthesis as long as your residual limb is healthy and not irritated by the forces of using the prosthesis. As long as you are comfortable and not finding or feeling any areas of irritation on your residual limb then you can wear it as often as you need. However, you should always sleep at night without your prosthesis to let your skin breathe and give yourself a rest. It is common to see some areas of redness on parts of your limb when you remove your prosthesis but those areas should not be tender and should disappear soon after removing your device. If areas of irritation persist, you need to come in to the office for an adjustment!

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Is it difficult to use a prosthesis?

Learning to use a prosthesis takes perseverance, determination, strength and a whole lot of patience! You need to be patient with yourself as you adjust to using your muscles in a new way and learn to trust your weight on your new leg or learn to maneuver your new arm/hand. It is best to work with a physical therapist who will help to get you proficient in using your prosthesis. It takes a great deal of energy to use a prosthetic device, so be patient with yourself and keep positive through the learning process. Soon, you will feel confident and natural with your prosthesis.  Remember this is a marathon not a race!

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How often, after delivery of my prosthesis, do I need to see my prosthetist?
It is best to see your prosthetist at least twice a year to retain optimum fit and function of your prosthesis. Of course, you should also see your prosthetist any time you feel discomfort and feel you need an adjustment. We want you to feel comfortable and happy!

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Should my prosthetic arm have a hand or a hook?

This is a personal choice and both options have their advantages. Some patients choose to have both options with the ability to interchange them themselves. The hand can be made to be very realistic with custom skin and this is often the choice for people that prefer a more cosmetic limb. The hook is very durable and is therefore an option for someone that continues to participate in manual labor. Again, the choice is personal according to your needs.

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Will I need to use a wheelchair or crutches?
This is a personal decision based on your physical health, strength, balance and level or type of amputation. Most amputees have crutches for those times when the prosthesis is off, including getting into the tub or shower, at nighttime when using the bathroom, when participating in sports such as swimming, etc. Bi-lateral amputees will probably use a wheelchair at least some of the time, as the energy exerted to use two prostheses can be very tiring.

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Are there resources for new amputees?

Absolutely! Every new amputee patient at Bio-Tech receives a packet including information from The Amputee Coalition of America, (www.amputee-coalition.org), along with a booklet entitled, “ Life After Amputation,” which takes the patient step-by-step through the process of receiving a prosthesis. There are also support groups offered in most areas and we have two amputees on staff who enjoy meeting with new amputees and helping them by answering questions and demonstrating how their prostheses work.

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If you have any other questions please feel free to call our offices or e-mail our Director of Patient Care, Mary at mary@btpo.com.

Click here for a definition of commonly used terminology.

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