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Amputation—General Overview
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Amputation—General Overview?

An amputation is a surgery to remove a body part. It is removed because of disease or damage.

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

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

  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) causing:
  • Gangrene
  • Untreatable pain
  • Severe soft tissue infection
  • Severe trauma that can not be repaired
  • Complications of diabetes
  • Untreatable bone infection ( osteomyelitis )
  • Malignant tumor
  • Congenital deformity (present at birth)
  • Severe frostbite
  • Complications of connective tissue diseases, such as:
  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have an amputation, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Poor healing at amputation site, resulting in the need for a higher level of amputation
  • Skin breakdown
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling at surgical site
  • Phantom limb pain —feeling pain in amputated limb area
  • Phantom sensation—feeling that amputated limb is still there
  • Blood clots
  • Complications of anesthesia

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Prolonged immobility
  • Heart disease
  • Smoking or lung disease
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Certain medicines (eg, steroids)

Call Your Doctor

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