The word amputation has been derived from the Latin word ”Ampture”, which means to cut away. The Amputation surgery was first time conducted in 17th century. Amputation is the removal of a limb by trauma (physical injury), medical illness, or surgery. Amputation is used as last resort against the physical pain. When all the possible measures to control the pain are tested but failed and the patient does not get relief, and the patient is under severe trouble. 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 that of congenital amputation, a congenital disorder, where fetal limbs have been cut off by constrictive bands. In some countries, amputation of the hands, feet or other body parts 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; it may also occur as a war injury. In some cultures and religions, minor amputations or mutilations are considered a ritual accomplishment.
What compels you to do Amputation:
- The most common reason for amputation is poor blood flow. This happens when arteries become narrowed or damaged. When this occurs in the arms or legs, it’s called peripheral arterial disease or PAD. PAD most often occurs between the ages of 50 to 75. It usually results from diabetes or atherosclerosis. This is a buildup of plaque inside the artery wall. Poor blood flow causes infection and death of tissues.
- The other reason for amputation is a painful injury or wound. If the painful injury or wound is not healing then a perpetual pain or trouble remains in the organ, which compels you to cut away the limb.
- Cancer in limbs also compels the patient to cut off the limb. Cancer is the result of a rapid and contentious cell division. The uncontrollable cell division cause sever pain in the organ and the wound of cancers deepens its roots. The spread roots may reach to the other organs. Therefore to prevent the other organs damaged it becomes necessary to ampute the affected organ.
- Amputation may also be done for serious infections that do not respond to antibiotics or other treatment. In some cases, it may be done due to frostbite or Neuroma. This is a thickening of nerve tissue.
Apart from these reasons there may be other reasons you may need an amputation.
What are the risks for amputation?
Physical impairment is the foremost result of amputation, however amputation affects much more to the people who are suffering from Diabetes, Heart diseases and other infection. Amputation is more risky for these people. Amputation above the knee is much risky than the below knee amputation.
Other complications may include:
- Joint deformity
- A bruised area with blood that collects underneath the skin (hematoma)
- Wound opening
- Tissue death
- Blood clot in the deep veins in the limb or in the lung
Apart from the above mentioned risks amputation may also have other risks, which should immediately be discussed with your doctor/surgeon.
The aftermath of an Amputations:
After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery room. Your recovery will vary depending on the type of procedure done and anesthesia used. The circulation and sensation of the affected extremity will be monitored. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you will be taken to your hospital room.
You will get pain medicines and antibiotics as needed. The dressing will be changed and watched closely.
You will start physical therapy soon after your surgery. Rehabilitation is designed for your specific needs. It may include gentle stretching, special exercises, and help getting in and out of bed or a wheelchair. If you had a leg amputation, you will learn how to bear weight on your remaining limb.
There are specialists who make and fit prosthetic devices. They will visit you soon after surgery and will instruct you how to use the prosthesis. You may begin to practice with your artificial limb as early as 10 to 14 days after your surgery, depending on your comfort and wound healing process.
After amputation, you will stay in the hospital for several days. You will get instructions as to how to change your dressing. You will be discharged home when the healing process is going well and you are able to take care of yourself with assistance.
After surgery, you may have emotional concerns. You may have grief over the lost limb or a physical condition known as phantom pain. This is a sense of feeling pain or sensation in your amputated limb. If this is the case, you may receive medicines or other types of nonsurgical approaches.