Amputation is surgery to remove a body part.
An amputation may be done for:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The anesthesia used will depend on the body part being removed. The doctor may give:
An incision will be made into the skin of the limb or limb part. If needed, the muscles will also be cut. Blood vessels will be tied off or sealed to stop them from bleeding. The bone will then be cut through. The body part will be removed.
Muscle will be pulled over the bone. It will be sutured in place. The skin will be pulled over the muscle. It will be sewn to form a stump. Drains may be inserted into the stump. It will allow blood and fluids to drain from the area in the first few days after surgery. A dressing will be placed over the area.
How long it takes depends on the site and the reason for surgery.
Pain and swelling are common. How long it lasts depends on the site and the reason for surgery. Medicine and home care can help.
The length of stay depends on the body part that was removed. For example:
If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
Physical therapy will be started soon after surgery. The care team will teach you how to use any assistive devices.
During your stay, staff will take steps to lower your chance of infection, such as:
You can also lower your chance of infection by:
It may take 1 to 2 months for the site to heal. Physical activity may be limited during recovery. You may need to ask for help with daily activities and delay return to work. You may also need to learn new ways to do daily tasks.
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Diabetes Association
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Diabetes Association
The Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Amputation. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/physical_medicine_and_rehabilitation/amputation_85,P01141. Accessed September 28, 2020.
Amputation. Society for Vascular Surgery website. Available at: https://vascular.org/patient-resources/vascular-treatments/amputation. Accessed September 28, 2020.
Fingertip injuries and amputations. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00014. Accessed September 28, 2020.
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Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM Last Updated: 6/8/2021