Adaptation to Amputation and Prosthesis Use

  • Elisabeth Schaffalitzky
  • Pamela Gallagher
  • Deirdre Desmond
  • Malcolm MacLachlan


In this chapter, we focus on psychosocial adaptation to an amputation/absence of a major limb and using a prosthesis. Prosthetic fitting, as a means of addressing cosmesis, functional rehabilitation and quality of life, is the most prevalent form of intervention for people with loss of a body part. However, the ways in which people respond to limb loss and the use of a prosthesis are both complex and individual and can be impacted upon by a variety of personal, clinical, social, physical and environmental factors. We term the study of the psychological, social and behavioural aspects of limb loss and prosthetic use, and of the rehabilitative processes in those conditions that require the use of prosthetic devices psychoprosthetics. In this chapter, we develop this concept and explore key issues including adaptation theory, body image, social discomfort and psychosocial factors impacting on adaptation such as coping, social support and culture. This chapter considers the importance of these issues for health service providers across the multidisciplinary team who work with people with limb loss. The integration of an awareness of psychosocial factors in the management of limb loss, together with physical and technical knowledge, is critical to optimising outcomes and enhancing appropriate service provision.


Social Support Body Image Pain Interference Dispositional Optimism Prosthetic Device 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth Schaffalitzky
  • Pamela Gallagher
    • 1
  • Deirdre Desmond
  • Malcolm MacLachlan
  1. 1.School of NursingDublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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