Prosthesis nonuse and discontinuation in United States veterans with major limb amputation: Results of a national survey

Prosthet Orthot Int. 2023 Dec 1;47(6):575-585. doi: 10.1097/PXR.0000000000000248. Epub 2023 Jun 13.


Background: Prosthesis use in persons with amputation can improve mobility and functional independence. Better understanding of the reasons for and outcomes associated with prosthesis nonuse is important to optimize function and long-term health in persons with amputation.

Objectives: Study objectives were to describe the rate, reasons for, and factors associated with never using or discontinuing prosthesis use in United States (US) veterans with amputation.

Study design: Cross-sectional study design.

Methods: The study used an online survey to assess prosthesis use and satisfaction in veterans with upper-limb and lower-limb amputation. Survey participation invitations were distributed by email, text message, and mail to 46,613 potential participants.

Results: The survey response rate was 11.4%. After exclusions, an analytic sample of 3,959 respondents with a major limb amputation was identified. The sample was 96.4% male; 78.3% White, with mean age of 66.9; and mean of 18.2 years since amputation. The rate of never using a prosthesis was 8.2%, and the rate of prosthesis discontinuation was 10.5%. Functionality (62.0%), undesirable prosthesis characteristics (56.9%), and comfort (53.4%) were the most common reasons for discontinuation. After controlling for the amputation subgroup, the odds of prosthesis discontinuation were higher for those with unilateral upper-limb amputation, female gender, White race (compared with Black race), diabetes, above-knee amputation, and lower prosthesis satisfaction. Prosthesis satisfaction and quality of life were highest for current prosthesis users.

Conclusions: This study adds new understanding regarding the rate and reasons for prosthesis nonuse in veterans and highlights the important relationship between prosthesis discontinuation and prosthesis satisfaction, quality of life, and satisfaction with life.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amputation, Surgical
  • Amputees*
  • Artificial Limbs*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • United States
  • Veterans*