Services

Center for Limb Differences

Care for all shapes and sizes.

Mary Free Bed’s Center for Limb Differences specializes in helping young patients with hand, foot and limb differences. When it was established in 1946, the center was the nation’s first to focus exclusively on helping infants, children and teenagers live healthy and fulfilling lives. 

We help patients who were born with a limb difference or who underwent an amputation due to disease or an accident. Our team’s primary goal is to help your child to become as independent as possible in all areas of development. 

Center for Limb Differences

Who we serve 

We provide care, offer support and recommend resources to benefit your child from birth through age 18. We also offer prenatal consultations. 

An evaluation should be made as soon as possible after your child’s birth or amputation. We can discuss a treatment plan and provide information about resources and other support services available to your child and family.  

We help young people with a broad range of congenital amputations and syndromes, brachial plexus problems, acquired amputations and those undergoing frame treatment for limb lengthening or angular correction and limb salvage. The center also manages prosthetic fitting and orthotic recommendations and integration into school, recreation and transitions into adulthood. 

Young patients come to us for a wide variety of conditions, including: 

Center for Limb Differences

Congenital limb differences (occurring at birth)

  • Proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD) 
  • Neonatal brachial plexus palsy 
  • Limb length differences 
  • Congenital short femur 
  • Absence or hypoplasia of the radius, ulna, tibia or fibula (hemimelia) 
  • Humeral deficiencies 
  • Amelia/phocomelia 
  • Foot differences and hand differences 
  • Radial club hand 
  • Arthrogryposis 
  • Caudal regression/lumbosacral agenesis 

Limb differences associated with syndromes

  • Thrombocytopenia & absent radius (TAR) 
  • Cornelia de Lange 
  • Poland 
  • Holt-Oram 
  • Vertebral anomalies, anal atresia, cardiac defects, tracheoesophageal fistula and/or esophageal atresia, renal & radial anomalies and limb defects (VATER/VACTERL) 

Amputations because of a variety of conditions

  • Cancer 
  • Vascular condition 
  • Accident 
  • Disease 
  • Post limb-salvage procedures 

What to expect 

Treatment plans are crafted to meet the unique needs of each patient. Patients generally visit the center three to four times a year.  

Your child’s schedule depends on circumstances unique to him or her. We’ll assess your child at each visit for orthopedic condition, growth and developmental needs. 

Your team 

The Center for Limb Differences is a founding and ongoing member of the Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics. As a patient, your child will be under the care of a comprehensive multidisciplinary team specializing in helping children with orthopedic conditions. 

Team leadership is provided by physicians who specialize in orthopedics and treating children with limb differences. Depending on your child’s needs, his or her treatment team also may include: 

  • Orthopedic surgeon 
  • Pediatric nurse 
  • Care manager 
  • Physical therapist 
  • Occupational therapist 
  • Certified prosthetist 
  • Certified orthotist 
  • Registered dietitian 
  • Other team members, such as a pediatrician and psychologist  

 

Contact Us 

616.840.8005 
800.668.6001 

Center for Limb Differences

Resources 

Handbooks
We’ve developed a series of handbooks as part of our commitment to education. Titles available for purchase include: 

  • Children with Limb Differences (Birth to 5 years) 
  • Children with Limb Differences (6 to 12 years) 
  • Adolescents with Limb Differences 
  • Children with Limb Differences: A Handbook for Teachers 
  • Children with Hand Differences: A Guide for Families 
  • Guia Para Familias de Ninos con Extremidades con Diferencias 
  • Your Personal Best (This is geared to young amputees, for use under the guidance of physical therapists. It offers several levels of fun exercises and guides children through the healing process.) 

Complete this Center for Limb Differences order form, and fax or mail to the address listed on the form. 

Other information 

Handouts to help children and teens cope with teasing or self-esteem challenges: 

Teasing Happens: How to Make Friends
Teasing Happens: What to Do
Teasing Happens: Tips for Teachers 
Teasing Happens: Tips for Parents
Teasing: Books for Children
Tips for Encouraging Self Esteem in Teens With Disabilities 

Resources for parents, peers and more:
American Childhood Cancer Organization
Amputee Coalition of America
Amputee Coalition of America – Support Groups
Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics
Family Resource Center on Disabilities
Federation for Children with Special Needs 

Recreational and camping information:
Disabled Sports USA
National Sports Center for the Disabled
Wilderness Inquiry 

Camps:
American Camp Association
Children’s Oncology Camping Association International
Easter Seals 

Need Rehabilitation? Ask for Mary.