One of the main prohibiting factors is the fact that the sockets are custom fit for each individual. Also, there is a liability issue regarding the components: The manufacturer’s warranty follows the invoice for the component. If a part that was ordered for one patient is later used for another, the manufacturer will no longer guarantee it. If a reused component fails and the amputee is injured, the prosthetist does not want to be held liable. To avoid assuming liability, a private practicing prosthetist will use only new products backed by the manufacturer’s warranty.
A few non-profit research organizations will use patient consent forms signed by the amputee stating that the amputee will accept a prosthesis that is assembled with used components. In this case, the patient is not charged for those components and the prosthetist can fit them provided they are appropriately applied. In a research setting, the components may be in development and the prosthetist can only say that to the best of his or her knowledge the part should not fail.
Educational institutions will also use amputee consent forms, allowing students to fabricate a prosthesis that is assembled with used components. This helps to control costs. Again, there is no charge to the amputee and no guarantee on the prosthesis.