What is rotationplasty? Does my insurance company have to cover my prosthesis if I have a rotationplasty?

Rotationplasty is one alternative available to some amputees who must have an above-knee amputation. The technical name for this procedure is a Van Nes rotationplasty. The procedure preserves the working knee joint and offers many above-knee amputees the same function as below-knee amputees. Rotationplasty surgeries have been performed for 60 years, but some consider them controversial.

In a rotationplasty, a patient’s knee is cut out, and the lower part of the leg is rotated and reattached so that the ankle takes the place of the knee. The limb becomes a functioning shortened leg. There are a number of issues with the surgery. It can be difficult to perform, and may require later surgeries to correct. The bigger controversy is whether it is necessary. Many feel that it looks bad and offers the patient few long-term benefits. Many critics point out that if the procedure is successful, the patient is left with a shortened leg and a foot that faces backwards. However, it offers huge benefits, such as the fact that most rotationplasty patients do not have phantom limb pain. Also, most rotationplasty patients can bear weight normally on the foot.

Rotationplasty patients use prostheses, which can be more difficult to fit given the nature of the procedure. Some patients who undergo rotationplasty surgery are told by their insurance company that the prosthetic is not covered if a rotationplasty is performed. In many cases, covering the cost of a prosthesis for a person who has had rotationplasty performed is actually less expensive than a person who needs a prosthesis with a knee joint.

If you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith in refusing to pay for your prosthesis, call me, Amputation Attorney Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567. I am an amputee and I enjoy helping other amputees receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Call today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.