What is amputation?


msBahasa Malaysia

Know the basics

What is amputation?

Amputation is a removal surgery used to remove all or part of an arm or leg, foot, hand, toe, or finger. This treatment is only used as a final option to treat injury, disease, infection or to remove tumors from bones and muscles.

How common is amputation?

Amputation is extremely common. It commonly occurs in males more than in females. It can affect patients at any age, particularly in people aged 70 or over. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of amputation?

The common symptoms of amputation are a part or all of an arm, leg, foot, hand, toe or finger amputated. Amputation can cause some complications including:

  • Heart complications, for example heart attack or heart failre in case that there are difficulties for the heart to pump blood around the body;
  • Blood clots(venous thrombosis);
  • Infection at the site of the surgery;(infection of the lungs);
  • Further surgery being required.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes amputation?

Causes of amputation can be:

  • A loss of blood supply to the affected limb (critical ischaemia), causing lower limb amputation;
  • Trauma causing upper limb amputation;
  • People with either type 1 diabetesor type 2 diabetes because: high blood glucose levels can damage blood vessels, leading to a restriction in blood supply;
  • Atherosclerosis;
  • Severe injury (from a vehicle accident or serious burn, for example);
  • Cancerous tumor in the bone or muscle of the limb;
  • Serious infection that does not get better with antibiotics or other treatment;
  • Thickening of nerve tissue, called a neuroma;
  • Frostbite.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for amputation?

There are many risk factors for amputation, such as:

  • Diabetes;
  • Heart disease;
  • Infection;
  • Ages: people aged from 70 years old;
  • Gender: Male have a higher risk than female.;
  • History of amputation: Above-knee amputations are riskier than below-knee amputations.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is amputation diagnosed?

Before an amputation is performed, extensive testing is done to determine the proper level of amputation, including:

  • Measurement of blood pressure in different parts of the limb;
  • Measurement of blood flow by using radiopharmaceutical Xenon 133;
  • Measurement of oxygen pressure under the skin by an oxygen;
  • Measurements of the microcirculation of the skin by using a laser Doppler;
  • Measurement of skin microcirculation by performing skinfluorescent studies;
  • Skin perfusion measurements using ablood pressure cuff and photoelectric detector;
  • Infrared measurements of skin temperature.

How is amputation treated?

Treatment of amputation include:

  • Using medications: analgesic or antibiotics can be used if needed.
  • Physical therapy soon after your surgery, including: gentle stretching, special exercises, and help getting in and out of bed or a wheelchair, how to bear weight on your remaining limb, how to change your dressing.
  • Follow the instructions given to you by your surgeon: how to care for the surgical site, dressing changes, bathing, activity level, and physical therapy.
  • Take a pain reliever for soreness as prescribed by your surgeon.

Tell your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Fever and/or chills;
  • Redness, swelling, or bleeding or other drainage from the incision site;
  • Increased pain around the amputation site;
  • Numbness and/or tingling in the remaining arm or leg.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage amputation?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with amputation:

  • Maintain a healthy diet that does not exceed your daily calorie requirement and that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol;
  • Stop smoking;
  • Work towards getting or keeping an ideal body weight;
  • Maintain a regular exercise program.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

You might also like