AMPUTATION - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, etc.


Amputation is a condition that is caused by surgically removing all or a part of a limb to prevent increased trauma caused by an injury or a certain disease.  A special case of amputation is congenital amputation. This usually happens when an infant at birth is born without a limb or limbs or a part of it. Vascular disease is also a common cause of limb loss. Amputations due to trauma mainly involve the upper limbs. Amputation is a rampant kind of condition suffered by most individuals in these days.


Various rehabilitation programs are used to treat amputations. These include the following:

  • Outpatient rehabilitation programs
  • Vocational rehabilitation programs
  • Acute rehabilitation programs
  • Day-treatment programs



Amputations may occur due to the following:

  • Surgical removal of tumors from muscles and bones.
  • Diseases, such as but not limited to vascular diseases, blood clots, diabetes or an infection caused in the bones called osteomyelitis.
  • Injuries that result in severe trauma in the limbs or part of the limbs; upper extremity amputations are usually caused by trauma.


Other common types of leg ulcer include:

  • Arterial leg ulcers
  • Diabetic leg ulcers
  • Malignant leg ulcers
  • Traumatic leg ulcers
  • Vasculitic leg ulcers

Ulcers in the foot are usually caused by diabetes.



Itching, pain, and swelling in the affected leg are characteristic symptoms of a venous leg ulcer.

Discoloration, hardening of the skin around the ulcer, and presence of a foul-smelling discharge may also be present when you have a venous leg ulcer.

If you have a venous leg ulcer, you may exhibit the following conditions:

  • discoloration and darkening of the skin around the ulcer
  • swollen ankles
  • red, flaky, scaly and itchy skin on your legs
  • swollen and enlarged veins on your legs
  • hardened skin around the ulcer, which may make your leg feel hard
  • a heavy feeling in your legs
  • an unpleasant and foul-smelling discharge from the ulcer
  • aching or swelling in your legs


Signs of an infection

Opportunistic pathogens could cause secondary bacterial infections due to the ulcer. 

Symptoms of an infected leg ulcer may include:

  • a green or unpleasant discharge coming from the ulcer
  • fever
  • redness and swelling of the skin around the ulcer
  • worsening pain
  • an unpleasant smell coming from the ulcer


Rehabilitation after amputation

Amputation causes a permanent disability in an individual’s life; it may impact a patient’s self-esteem, confidence, and mobility.

Rehabilitation of an amputated person shortly begins after the surgery. A more extensive rehabilitation will happen if the patient’s condition improves.

Rehabilitation programs are prepared to cater to the needs of individual patients. They are designed to improve the overall condition of the patient. These programs aim to help patients return to the highest level of function and independence.

The success of rehabilitation is dependent on the patients:

  • Health
  • The type and degree of the resultingimpairments and disabilities
  • Level and type of amputation
  • Support from the family

Such programs encourage the involvement of the patient and the family. Improving the patient’s self-esteem and promoting independence through positive reinforcement also helps in the patient’s recovery. Maximizing the patient’s involvement at home and in the community is integral to the success of the patient’s recovery.


To help reach these goals, amputation rehabilitation programs may include the following:

  • Wound healing and stump care treatments
  • Activities that help the patient improve motor skills and reach maximum independence
  • Exercises that help improve muscle strength, control, and endurance
  • The use of prostheses or artificial limbs
  • Pain management for both postoperative and phantom pain
  • Use of assistive devices
  • Vocational and psychological counseling
  • A tailored home environment for ease of function, accessibility, mobility, and safety.
  • Patient and family education

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