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Amputation, Above-the-Knee
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Amputation, Above-the-Knee?

An above-the-knee amputation (AKA) is the surgical removal of the leg above the knee.

Above-the-Knee Amputation
Above the Knee Amputation
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

An amputation is usually done for one of the following reasons:

  • Poor blood flow cannot be corrected, resulting in tissue loss or extreme pain
  • Severe infection
  • Trauma or injury
  • Tumor
  • Congenital disorder (eg, a limb that has not formed properly)

Possible Complications

If an above-the-knee amputation has been recommended, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Wound breakdown
  • Infection
  • 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
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Reaction to anesthesia

Some factors that increase the risk for complications include:

  • Poor blood flow
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Prolonged immobilization
  • Heart disease
  • Smoking or lung disease
  • Blood clotting disorders

Be sure to discuss these risks...