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. A dressing will be placed over the area.
If infection is involved, the incision may be left open to heal.
How Long Will It Take?
Surgery can take 20 minutes to many hours. It depends on the body part and your health.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain. Pain and discomfort after surgery can be managed with medicines.
Average Hospital Stay
Your hospital stay will depend on the body part you had removed. Typically:
Foot or toe amputation: 2-7 days
Leg amputation: 2 days to 2 weeks or more
Upper extremity: 7-12 days
Finger amputation: 0-1 day
Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if problems arise.
At the Hospital
After surgery, you can expect that:
The area involved will be raised. This will reduce swelling.
Your limb will be dressed in a bulky dressing, elastic bandage, or cast.
You will be advised to get up and walk as soon as you are able.
Physical therapy will start within 1-2 days. It will focus on strength and mobility.
You may wear a cast or special shoe for toe/foot amputations.
You may be given certain medicines. This may be antibiotics or blood thinners.
You will be fitted with a prosthesis as soon as your wound has healed.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
Not letting others touch your incision
Stitches will be removed within a few weeks. When you return home:
Counseling may be advised to help with your emotions.
Maintain a healthy body weight for overall health and to make sure your prosthesis fits well.
Follow your doctor's instructions.
Call Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing or you have problems, such as:
Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision sites
Increasing or excessive pain
Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
Severe nausea and vomiting
If you think you have emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Bone sarcoma in the upper extremity: treatment options using limb salvage or amputation. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00092#Rehabilitation/Convalescence. Updated October 2007. Accessed November 10, 2017.
Fingertip injuries/amputations. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00014. Updated July 2016. Accessed November 10, 2017.
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