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 Will It Take?
How long it takes depends on the site and the reason for surgery.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common. How long it lasts depends on the site and the reason for surgery. Medicine and home care can help.
Average Hospital Stay
The length of stay depends on the body part that was removed. For example:
Foot or toe: 2 to 7 days
Leg: 2 days to 2 weeks or more
Arm: 7 to 12 days
Finger: 0 to 1 day
If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
Give you pain medicine
Give you medicine to prevent blood clots
Raise the area to ease swelling
Apply ice to the area
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:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
You can also lower your chance of infection by:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
Not letting others touch your incisions
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 Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
Increasing redness, swelling, pain, excess bleeding, or discharge
Pain that you cannot control with medicine
Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
Nausea or vomiting
Feelings of depression
Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
New or unexpected symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
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.
Rooke TW, Hirsch AT, et al. 2011 American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Focused Update of the Guideline for the Management of patients with peripheral artery disease (Updating the 2005 Guideline): a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2011 Nov 1;124(18):2020-2045.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.