By Silab Prosthetics

Frequently Asked Questions

We are often asked questions and love to respond to your needs, but if you can’t wait for our answer you might find it already listed here among our most frequently asked questions. If you have any other questions, please contact us via our contact page and we will be happy to assist you.

- How realistic is a silicone prosthesis?

- Will my prosthetic skin tone be different from mine?

- I would like to order a custom prosthetic. How long do I need to wait before I receive it?

- How long will the silicone prosthesis last?

- When can I have a prosthetic after my amputation?

- Why is it necessary to take care of the prosthesis and skin of the stump?

- How will my prosthesis stay on?

- Can I polish my acrylic nails?

- Can I take a shower with my prosthesis on?

- Can i swim with my prosthesis?

- What can I do when I get a tan in Summer?

- How often should I replace it?

- I would like to come to your office in Lisbon, Portugal but I don’t speak Portuguese should I organise an interpreter?

- I would like to come to Lisbon, Portugal to obtain a custom prosthesis, but I have a lot of questions about accommodation, transportation and organisation of my stay.

- Can the prosthesis be ordered by post?

- How do I do the cast?

- At what age can my child start to wear a prosthesis?

- Who decides to wear a prosthesis or not? Baby or parents?

- How often should children replace prosthetics?

- If my prosthesis is damaged, can it be restored?

- Do you do international shipping?



How realistic is a silicone prosthesis? 

SkinFeel™ by Silab Prosthetics offer three different ranges of silicone cosmetic prosthesis designed to match your lifestyle and needs. Our custom prostheses are some of the most realistic prostheses in the world and are designed to exactly match every aspect of your physical natural skin colour, texture and detail. Even SkinFeel™ standard prostheses have a realism that they will easily integrate into all social environments to provide you total comfort and confidence.

Will my prosthetic skin tone be different from mine? 

SkinFeel™ by Silab Prosthetics custom designed prostheses are hyper-realistic due to our strict enhanced colouration process. This process is followed with you present during our second appointment.

In the situation where you prefer to obtain your prosthesis through our remote ordering process, we will use the pictures you have provided to match as closely as possible your skin tone and colours. However, while we will do our very best to match the tone as closely as possible, but it is important to note that your skin constantly changes colour because of changes in temperature and your own emotional conditions. Additionally, the light, reflections, your device's parameters that captured the picture can all slightly modify the real tone of your skin represented in the photo.

It is always best to visit us in person where we can match your skin with the silicone completely.

I would like to order a custom prosthetic. How long do I need to wait before I receive it?

A SkinFeel™ by Silab Prosthetics custom silicone prosthesis is based entirely on your existing limb, skin colours etc. The casting, shaping and colouration process will be made specific to your needs. As a result, to create a truly realistic match to your existing limbs, skin colour and features, we follow a two stage process that includes a number of steps that depending on the limb required will determine the exact amount of time required in order to produce your custom prosthesis.

The process involves several steps which requires two appointments with you to complete the process. The overall process is:

Consultation – A review of your specific needs, amputation details and discussion of your lifestyle to determine the best suitable solution. This stage can be done remotely and informs us in the preparation of the first appointment.

1st Appointment: The first stage is casting, which involves taking a series of measurements and moulds which will be used to create the final shape of your specific custom prosthesis. This first appointment requires approximately 3-4 hours of your time to complete the casting process and to review your needs and reply to all your questions.

Shaping and moulding: In this phase we will commence to build the shape of your prosthesis. The shaping process takes different lengths of time depending upon your specific required prosthesis. For example, it takes about 3 weeks for fingers and about 6 weeks for hands and feet. Your presence is not required during this stage.

2nd Appointment: Once the shape is ready for the colouration we require a second appointment with you in order to complete the colouration process with you for exact fitting and pairing. During this process we will match the silicone “skin” tone and nail colouration, as well as complete the final fitting. It will take two days for a finger prosthesis and five days for an arm.

At the end of this second appointment you will be able to leave with your prosthesis.

How long will the silicone prosthesis last?

A silicone prosthesis that is carefully cared for and is maintained in good condition through semi-regular restoration often has an average lifespan of 3-5 years.

When can I have a prosthetic after my amputation?

Preparation for having a prosthetic can begin soon after the amputation and will depend upon each individual’s recovery and adaptation process. As the body gradually adapts to the new changes and the stump (residual limb after the amputation) is being formed, preparations can be made for the type of prosthetic that is suitable. The size of the stump, in particular its diameter, does not form immediately after the operation, but normally takes about a year to stabilize.

Only once the stump is healed, be painless, mobile in joints and with healthy skin should the process of creation of the prosthesis begin. Indicators that signal that it is possible to start the process of creating a prosthesis include the complete healing of the stump and the general somatic condition of the patient. This allows the first prosthesis, called a temporary or primary prosthesis to begin to be used. A temporary prosthesis is a prosthesis designed to adapt the stump and patient during the transition period. It has the advantage to aid the effective formation of the stump providing the necessary load in the early stages of prosthetics usage. It is more effective compared to an elastic bandage. The wearing time of a temporary prosthesis takes from three to six months, depending on the rehabilitation process. After that, you can start a new prosthesis and switch to a permanent prosthesis.

Why is it necessary to take care of the prosthesis and skin of the stump?

The long life of a cosmetic silicone prosthetic is determined by the care that is given to it and your skin where it comes in contact with your body.

Good skin integrity is essential for wearing the prosthesis successfully and without issue. Every day, after using the prosthesis, it is important to clean the skin of the stump, massage and treat the skin with protective nourishing creams and lotions. To maintain muscle tone every day, spend 5-7 minutes daily in phantom-impulsive gymnastics.

After removing the prosthesis, it is necessary to clean silicone surface of the prosthetics that has been in direct connection with skin (in case of vacuum fixation) or silicone liner (in case of forearm/arm prostheses) with sanitizing wipes (several times per week) and soap and water every day. *Never use acetone and other solvents to clean the surface as this will result in damage to the silicone and potentially dry out your skin.

The surface of the prosthesis must also be kept clean in order to keep the prosthesis protected from damage and deformation. It should not be stored in the sun. Self-disassembling and repairing of the prosthesis is not acceptable. In case of damage to the prosthesis you should contact us.

How will my prosthesis stay on?

Finger prostheses, prostheses with partial amputation of the wrist or foot, total hand or foot prostheses do not need a special fixation and will remain on due to a naturally created vacuum. If the prosthesis requires special fixation (internal structure), it is made with materials characterized by high strength, rigidity and low weight.

Typically, for a forearm/arm prosthesis, a silicone liner is rolled directly onto the stump, upon which the prosthetic is attached and will ensure the prosthesis remains in place due to the naturally created vacuum. The silicone liner is produced from durable medical and highly elastic silicone that has an integrated locking system which provides a detachable connection with an integrated socket system within the forearm/arm prosthesis. This type of fixation securely holds the prosthesis in place and provides maximum comfort and motion. It allows the shoulder/elbow to be fully movable without an additional belt fixation. There are various other options available for fixation and the selection of the right system for your amputation will be guided by your orthopaedic surgeon.

SkinFeel™ by Silab Prosthetics arm/forearm cosmesis are available to adapt to any available fixation systems.

Can I polish my acrylic nails?

Yes, you can do it by yourself or at the nail salon. We would recommend a basic manicure to use customized treatments such as a gel polish that is cured using a UV or LED light, Extensions, Shellac or others. You can also renew your nail design shapes by removing the nail cover gently under the guidance of a nail professional.

Can I take a shower with my prosthesis on?

If your prosthesis has a vacuum fixation such as fingers, total and partial hands and feet prostheses you will be able to take a shower with your prosthesis. In the case you do not have a waterproof type of fixation (like forearm pin fixation system) you can use our waterproof silicone adhesive bracelets.

Can i swim with my prosthesis?

If your prosthesis has vacuum fixation such as those prostheses of fingers, total and partial hands and feet you will be able to swim with your prosthesis. However, each time after you have been for a swim it is very important to clean your prosthesis with water and soap to remove any salt from the seawater or swimming pool cleaning chemicals.

In case if you have not-waterproof type of fixation (like forearm pin fixation system) you can use our waterproof silicone adhesive bracelets.

What can I do when I get a tan in Summer?

Firstly, we advise our patients to choose the colour tone for the prosthesis when the skin has the most natural shade. But during the holiday season when the skin is tanned, while the colour of the prosthesis remains unchanged, we have developed a special silicone colorant ‘Summer Colour’ by SkinFeel™ by Silab Prosthetics. This product provides our clients a temporary “tan” for the prosthesis. It creates a tanning effect through a transparent tint layer on the surface of the prosthesis. To maintain the "tanning", repeated use of the colourant is necessary every 2-3 days. To return to the original shade of your prosthesis, simply stop using the colourant.

If you would like to order our ‘Summer Colour’ solution, please contact us via our Contact Us page directly with your request and we will help you with the order to meet the needs of your prosthetic. 

How often should I replace it?

Many factors can impact when you replace your prosthesis (such as weight loss or gain, aging, skin changes etc), but a carefully cared for prosthesis can last up to 5 years. We advise that you should replace at least every 5 years in order to maintain the hygiene of the prosthesis and residual limb.

I would like to come to your office in Lisbon, Portugal but I don’t speak Portuguese should I organise an interpreter?

Our team in Lisbon is very international and we have native English, French, Portuguese and Russian speakers. If you still need to speak any other languages with us, we will always find a way to communicate.

I would like to come to Lisbon, Portugal to obtain a custom prosthesis, but I have a lot of questions about accommodation, transportation and organisation of my stay.

As soon as you have made an appointment with us, we will be able to provide you with all the information that you will need to organise and undertake during your stay.

We can provide you advice on the easiest way to come from the airport to the city, some hotels near to our offices, the simplest way to travel from your hotel to our SkinFeel™ offices. We can even provide you some great advice on things to do while you are in the beautiful city of Lisbon.

Can the prosthesis be ordered by post?

In some instances, we can create a prosthesis for you without the need for you to come and visit our offices for an appointment. In order to achieve this, we will need to have you cast your healthy and residual limbs in order to build a shape that will match your requirements. We will be able to provide you with information of where to obtain the cast or we can send you the casting materials. Additionally, we will need from you clear and accurate pictures of your skin tone in order to be able to reproduce as accurately as possible your specific skin colour.

How do I do the cast?

We can provide you with a cast kit that includes a self-releasing safe silicone that you will need to apply according our instructions to your skin in the required areas to make the casts that we require in order to make a mould specific to your needs. We can remotely also provide you with video instructions and our on-call support while you make the cast.

At what age can my child start to wear a prosthesis?

There is no definite answer to this question. There are only several generally accepted recommendations:

Lower limb prostheses are recommended for children aged 9 to 16 months. The age when a child begins to stand and move about. Until this age, there is no point in prosthetics, since the prosthesis should serve functional purposes.

Children are ready for upper limb prostheses when they begin to sit and use both hands. This occurs between the ages of 3 to 7 months. The child’s first prosthesis can help him crawl, push off when he gets up, etc.

Who decides to wear a prosthesis or not? Baby or parents?

When a child is very young, most decisions are made by parents. You need to think about your child’s needs and your family’s lifestyle. You must always remember that children adapt to the prosthesis differently from adults. As a rule, they adapt faster and easier to new things. When a child grows up, becomes a teenager, he will be able to independently decide when and how long to wear a prosthesis. But in the first years of his life, this decision remains with his parents. It is much easier to decide on the need for a prosthesis in the case of the lower extremities, because the child needs it to walk and maintain balance. But to decide whether a prosthesis is needed for a child with an absence of upper limbs is a little more difficult. Some parents want their child to wear a prosthesis as early as possible, considering it the best way to be independent. But the children themselves may not agree with this and refuse to wear the prosthesis, explaining this by the fact that it is heavy, not comfortable or just interferes. It is very important to find understanding and help the child adapt to the prosthesis. And always listen to his point of view.

How often should children replace prosthetics?

As children grow, they outgrow their prosthetics, just like t-shirts, pants and shoes. Dr. Claude Lambert studied how often children need to change their lower limb prostheses. His studies show that:

  • Children from 1 to 5 years old need a new prosthesis once a year
  • Children aged 5 to 12 years need a new prosthesis every 1 to 2 years
  • Children between 12 and 18 years old need a new prosthesis every 3 to 4 years.

If my prosthesis is damaged, can it be restored?

Yes, our silicone can be fully restored. There is no need for you to travel to our Lisbon office, you can post it to us, and we will restore it and return it as good as new.

Do you do international shipping?

We ship anywhere in the world from our facility here in Lisbon, Portugal. Internationally we ship via services such as TNT and DHL.