Amputee K Levels

Amputee K-Levels

Amputee-K-LevelsThe amputee K-levels ranking system is the common practice in the US for classifying amputees into 5 classes. On 2001, the US Health Care Financing Administration’s (HCFA) published  a common procedure coding system using code modifiers (K0, K1, K2, K3, K4) as a 5-level functional classification system related to the functional abilities of lower-limb amputees. In simple words, the lower the activity potential of the amputee, the lower is his/her amputee K-level and vice versa.

Why do we care about our amputee K-level at all? For one, health insurance plans rely on the K-level when approving a prosthetic leg and its components.  Once an amputee is assigned a K-level, this dictates the class of the prosthetics the amputee can purchase.

  • K0 – No Mobility. This base level is assigned to amputees who do not have the ability or potential to ambulate or transfer safely with or without assistance. A prosthesis does not enhance the quality of life or mobility of the amputee.
  • K1 – Very Limited Mobility. The amputee has the ability or potential to use a prosthesis for transfers or ambulation in level surfaces at a fixed walking pace. Walking at various speeds, bypassing obstacles of any kind are out of the K1 class.
  • K2 – Limited Mobility – The amputee has the ability or potential to use a prosthesis for  ambulation and the ability to adjust for low-level environmental barriers such as curbs, stairs, or uneven surfaces. K2 level amputees may walk for limited periods of time however, without significantly varying their speed.
  • K3 - Basic to Normal Mobility. The amputee has the ability or potential to use a prosthesis for  basic ambulation and the ability to adjust for most environmental barriers. The amputee has the ability to walk at varying speeds.
  • K4 – High Activity. The amputee exceeds basic mobility and applies high impact and stress to the prosthetic leg. Typical of the prosthetic demands of the child, active adult, or athlete.

Amputee K-levels are determined by the treating physician and/or the prosthetist. To evaluate the amputee condition, they consider previous activity of the amputee, residual limb condition,  other medical problems, the amputee desire for activity, etc. Naturally, such factors change with time hence, the amputee K-level is dynamic and may change with time. A motivated amputee would most probably go up K-levels. It is important for an active amputee to be classified in his/her appropriate K-Level so that components that are designed for higher activity levels would be covered for payment under the Medicare policy. If your functional ability increases over time, your rating can be changed to a higher level.

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Shuki Wolfus Shuki Wolfus 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • October 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm #362
    Avatar of Erez
    Key Master

    Amputee K-Levels The amputee K-levels ranking system is the common practice in the US for classifying amputees into 5 classes. On 2001, the US Health
    [See the full post at: Amputee K Levels]

    October 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm #363
    Avatar of Ann Taylor
    Ann Taylor

    I heard that some prosthetic companies use different level system. Do you know anything about it?


    November 1, 2012 at 10:08 am #364
    Avatar of Shuki Wolfus
    Shuki Wolfus
    Key Master

    You are probably referring to Ottobock. They have a classification system of their own called MOBIS.

    Basically, they divide the amputee community into 4 mobility grades: the indoor walker, the restricted outdoor walker, the unrestricted outdoor walker, and the unrestricted outdoor walker with especially rigorous demands. These classes get grades 1 to 4 respectively. In addition they divide their prosthetic products into 4 weight classes: lower than 75 kg, 75kg to 100kg, 100kg to 125kg and 125kg and above. For example, a prosthetic foot marked as MOBIS 2, <100 would fit for a restricted outdoor walker amputee, weighing less than 100 kg.

    Read more about Ottobock’s MOBIS system here:

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