Amputation—General Overview

Definition

An amputation is a surgery to remove a body part. It is removed because of disease or damage.
Above the Knee Amputation
cropped leg
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Reasons for Procedure

An amputation is typically done for one of the following reasons:
  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) causing:
    • Gangrene
    • Untreatable pain
    • Severe soft tissue infection
  • Severe trauma that cannot be repaired
  • Complications of diabetes
  • Untreatable bone infection such as osteomyelitis
  • Malignant tumor
  • Congenital deformity (present at birth)
  • Severe frostbite
  • Complications of connective tissue diseases, such as:

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have an amputation, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
  • Poor healing at amputation site, resulting in the need for a higher level of amputation
  • Skin breakdown
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling at surgical site
  • Phantom limb pain —feeling pain in amputated limb area
  • Phantom sensation—feeling that amputated limb is still there
  • Blood clots
  • Complications of anesthesia
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

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