Type of Surgery

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Last updated: 11/24/2009

Aftercare

After amputation, medication is prescribed for pain, and patients are treated with antibiotics to discourage infection. The stump is moved often to encourage good circulation. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are started as soon as possible,...

usually within 48 hours. Studies have shown that there is a positive relationship between early rehabilitation and effective functioning of the stump and prosthesis. Length of stay in the hospital depends on the severity of the amputation and the general health of the amputee, but ranges from several days to two weeks.

Rehabilitation is a long, arduous process, especially for above the knee amputees. Twice daily physical therapy is not uncommon. In addition, psychological counseling is an important part of rehabilitation. Many people feel a sense of loss and grief when they lose a body part. Others are bothered by phantom limb syndrome, where they feel as if the amputated part is still in place. They may even feel pain in this limb that does not exist. Many amputees benefit from joining self-help groups and meeting others who are also living with amputation. Addressing the emotional aspects of amputation often speeds the physical rehabilitation process.


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In an above-the-knee amputation, three incisions are made (A). First the skin and muscle layers are cut (B). The major blood vessels are clamped and severed (C). The bone is cut with a special saw (D). Finally, the muscles are stitched over the bone, and the skin is closed over the wound (E). (Illustration by GGS Inc.) In an above-the-knee amputation, three incisions are made (A). First the skin and muscle layers are cut (B). The major blood vessels are clamped and severed (C). The bone is cut with a special saw (D). Finally, the muscles are stitched over the bone, and the skin is closed over the wound (E). (Illustration by GGS Inc.)




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Other Information

Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for such problems. A special case is the congenital amputation, a congenital disorder, where foetal limbs have been cut off by constrictive bands. In some countries, amputation of the hands or feet is or was used as a form of punishment for people who committed crimes. Amputation has also been used as a tactic in war and acts of terrorism. In some cultures and religions, minor amputations or mutilations are considered a ritual accomplishment. Unlike many non-mammalian animals (such as lizards that shed their tails), once removed, human extremities do not grow back. A transplant or a prosthesis is the only option for recovering the loss.


From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amputation

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Orthopedic complaints are the most common reason to seek medical care.


From: About.com

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