With 185,000 new amputations per year, there are between 300 and 500 amputations performed each day in the United States. About 45% of those occur due to trauma. There has also been a dramatic lift in those caused by diabetes and vascular compromise, a 24% increase since 1988 with 60% of those individuals required to have a second amputation.
As detailed in a University of Washington study, although prostheses have “the potential to restore function, increase quality of life and are associated with a greater likelihood of returning to employment”…” a substantial number of persons with amputations do not use a prosthesis.” This 2009 study indicated that prior statistics indicated that between 27% to 56% of upper limb amputations and 49% to 95% for lower limb amputations are not rehabilitated with any form of prostheses.
While the reasons for passing on prostheses are nuanced and varied—including overall health and strength, issues with pain, and location of the amputation; cost is a primary driver. A recent article by Harvard Medical School entitled “Life and Limb” notes that insurance denials for high-end prostheses are frequent and that “only about 15% of amputees in the country, mainly those with amputations covered by Veterans Administration or workers’ compensation policies, have a chance of having the cost covered.”
Since the Amputee Coalition estimates that 54% of US amputees have lost limbs due to diabetes and other vascular diseases, many of the 2.1 million Americans living with limb loss—likely to reach 3.6 million by 2050–are unlikely to have this kind of coverage.
As technology advances with the miniaturization and additional firepower of microprocessor capabilities and alternative techniques to repurpose nerves and tendons from the amputated limb, the wonderful promise of better and better prostheses seems to be on the rise. Unfortunately, the cost associated with delivering these opportunities to reclaim greater functions—and therefore reclaim a greater quality of life—will likely also rise.
Providing the best pricing on the best options for prostheses will be critical to maximizing the access and impact of these innovations. As part of our mission to lower the cost and the barriers to medical care for everyone, we work to provide expert consultation and meaningful savings on prosthetics.
Please contact ChronovoCare at firstname.lastname@example.org / 844-263 CARE (2273) for assistance with prosthetics.