What is amputation?

The surgery to remove all of a limb or some parts such as the arm, hand, finger or leg, foot, toe, etc. is called amputation. Amputation is used in cases of injury, disease, infection. Sometimes, when there’s is a need to remove bone and muscle tumors, amputation may be recommended.

Why is amputation needed?

Peripheral arterial disease is a condition that narrow or even damage the arteries, leading to poor blood circulation. Insufficient blood supply prevent the cells from getting adequate oxygen and nutrients. Over time, cells start to die and infection takes place. This is when amputation is needed. Other cases that require amputation are severe injuries, malignant tumors in the bones or muscles, persistent infections that don’t respond to medication, neuroma or thickened nerve tissue, and frostbite, etc.

What is involved in an amputation procedure?

During an amputation, you may be administered general anaesthetic (which makes you unconscious) or epidural anaesthetic (which only cause a loss of sensation in the lower half of your body).

After the affected limb is removed, the surgeon will carry out certain techniques such as:

  • Shorten and smooth the bone in your remaining limb to make sure it’s covered by a sufficient amount of soft tissue and muscle.
  • Stitch the remaining muscle to the bone to improve the strength of the remaining limb. (This is called myodesis.)

These techniques are helpful in improving the function of the remaining limb and lower the risk of complications.

After that, the surgeon will seal your wound with stitches or surgical staples, then cover it with a bandage. You may need a tube placed under your skin to drain excess fluid. The bandage should be kept in place for several days to avoid infection.

Amputation aftercare: What’s to keep in mind?

Depending on the procedure type and anesthesia, amputation aftercare may differ. Usually, you will receive oxygen through a mask and fluids through a drip for a few days after the surgery.

During surgery, the surgeon may put a urinary catheter in your bladder to remove urine, so it’s likely that you won’t need to go to the toilet during the first few days after surgery.

You may need painkillers to deal with the pain in the surgical site. If you feel like the painkillers you are given are not enough to overpower the pain, talk to your doctor for larger dosage. Local anaesthetic may be administered through a small tube directly to your stump nerves to help with the pain.

Physiotherapy offers exercises to help prevent blood clots and improve circulation, which may speed up your recovery.

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

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