(Amputation, Below-the-Knee; BKA)
Reasons for Procedure
- Poor blood flow that cannot be fixed
- Trauma or injury
- Severe infection
- Poor healing of the amputation site that may require a higher level amputation
- Skin breakdown at the residual limb
- Decreased range of motion in the hip or knee
- Phantom sensation —feeling that the amputated limb is still there
- Phantom pain —feeling pain in the amputation area
- Stump swelling
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Heart attack
- Blood clots
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
- Imaging tests, such as x-rays or scans
- Have you donate blood in case you need a transfusion
- Prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection
- Arrange for a ride home.
- Arrange for help at home while you recover.
- Talk to your doctor about any medications, herbs, or supplements you are taking.
- Ask your doctor about devices you will need after the surgery, such as an artificial limb, walker, crutches, and/or wheelchair.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners
Description of Procedure
|A cut is made below the knee.|
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How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Pain medications
- Antibiotics to prevent infection
- Medication to prevent blood clots
- Follow your doctor’s instructions on cleaning the incision site.
- Ask your doctor when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Continue with your physical therapist’s exercise program.
Call Your Doctor
- Increased swelling in the residual limb
- Poorly fitting prosthesis
- Pain that can't be controlled with the medication you've been given
- Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
- Increasing redness, swelling, increasing pain, excess bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Increased symptoms of depression
- New cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, rash, or other new symptoms
American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org
Amputee Coalition of America http://www.amputee-coalition.org
Canadian Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Amputation. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/physical%5Fmedicine%5Fand%5Frehabilitation/amputation%5F85,P01141. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Amputation. Society for Vascular Surgery website. Available at: http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/amputation.aspx. Updated February 2011. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Amputation procedure. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test%5Fprocedures/cardiovascular/amputation%5Fprocedure%5F92,P08292. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Management of critical limb ischemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated October 2, 2013. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Professional Guide to Diseases . 9th ed. Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 12/03/2013 -
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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