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Reasons for Procedure
- Poor blood flow cannot be corrected, resulting in tissue loss or extreme pain
- Severe infection
- Trauma or injury
- Congenital disorder (eg, a limb that has not formed properly)
- Wound breakdown
- Non-healing of the amputation site resulting in the need for a higher level of amputation
- Swelling of the stump
- Decreased range of motion in the hip joint
- Phantom pain—feeling pain in amputated limb area
- Phantom limb sensation —feeling that the amputated limb is still there
- Blood clots
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Poor blood flow
- Prolonged immobilization
- Heart disease
- Smoking or lung disease
- Blood clotting disorders
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Your doctor may examine your leg—Pulse, skin temperature, skin appearance, and sensitivity to touch will be tested.
- Your doctor may ask questions—These include the kind of help you have at home and whether you would like to talk to a therapist about the loss of your limb.
- Questions you should ask your doctor—These include the kind of rehabilitation you will need after surgery and how long your recovery will be.
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- You will be asked to move your stump often. This will help stimulate circulation and help prevent stiffening of the hip joint.
- You will begin physical therapy as soon as possible. Therapy often begins within 48 hours of surgery.
- You may use a wheelchair for mobility at first.
- You may be taught how to change your dressing.
- You will receive antibiotics to prevent infection.
- Get some help from family and/or friends as you recover.
- Change your bandages as instructed, replacing them with sterile bandages provided by the hospital.
- You will need to continue physical therapy to build your strength, maintain range of motion, and learn how to walk with a prosthesis.
- Inspect the stump often.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
Call Your Doctor
- Increased stump swelling
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Poorly fitting prosthesis
- Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or blood in the urine
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, rash, or other new symptoms
Amputee Coalition of America http://www.amputee-coalition.org/
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/
Amputee Coalition of America http://www.amputee.ca/
The War Amps http://www.waramps.ca/
Amputation. Vascular Web website. Available at: http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/amputation.aspx. Accessed July 21, 2009.
Leg amputation. Merck website. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mrkshared/mmg/sec3/ch29/ch29e.jsp. Accessed September 21, 2005.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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