Amputation is the surgical removal of a limb because of trauma or medical complications. The limb may be completely or partially removed, and a partial removal will leave some soft tissue or stump. What are the common reasons for amputation? How are amputations done? What are the implications of having a prosthetic leg or arm fitted? This guide to amputations will answer all these commonly asked questions.
Common Reasons for Amputation
In cases whereby an arm or leg has been severely crushed or deformed by a heavy or sharp object or even in cases of explosions or warzones, removing the affected limb may be crucial in saving the life of the victim. Amputation is typically carried out immediately or within days of the accident.
The possible reasons for the death of tissues in a limb are diabetes, gangrene or atherosclerosis, when fatty material builds up inside the arterial walls. The flow of blood to the area will be restricted which will result in infection and lead to dead tissues in the limb.
In diabetes patients, the possibility of developing Peripheral Artery Disease is very high, and this causes dilation of the blood vessels in the legs and feet that lead to reduced blood flow to the area. It is important, therefore, that diabetes patients manage their condition diligently to prevent amputation. As most diabetes-related amputations involve the legs, many amputees will choose to have a prosthetic leg fitted post-amputation surgery.
The Amputation Procedure