Amputations: Lower Extremity
March 08, 2005
An amputation is the removal of a limb. This happens through a surgical procedure or when an external body part (limb) is torn from the body after an accident. An amputation can also occur when a limb has been crushed or when there is impaired circulation to that extremity. Here is the United States the most common cause of amputation of the lower extremity are disease (70%), trauma (22%) congenital birth defects (4%) and tumors (4%).
When circulation is lost or severely diminished, a surgical procedure known as a below the knee amputation (BKA) may occur. The removal of a limb above the knee is know as an above the knee amputation (AKA). The singular reason for the removal of a lower extremity is ischemia from arterial occlusion. Other contributing factors may include infection, neuropathy, gangrene, and cutaneous ulceration. Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is the number one systemic disease responsible for circulation compromise to a lower extremity.
Issues of simple mobility and self-care are the initial problems that most amputees face. There is a greater chance of rehabilitation for the person who has a BKA over an above the knee amputation (AKA). Participation in a comprehensive rehabilitation program, identifying the prosthetic device(s) needed, will help the amputee return to life?s daily activities. This is where the Life Care Planner becomes involved. The life care planner will assure a team approach to the amputee?s recovery. The patient?s physician and therapists will develop a rehabilitation program based on the individual needs of the patient. If there are home care needs, the Life Care Planner will identify those needs. Your Life Care Planner will also make sure any emotional needs are met. Patient and family education is needed to deal with psychological trauma related to the amputation and prevent further complications.
Statistical Facts about Below the Knee Amputations ? Eighty-five (85 %) percent of amputations, which occur to a lower extremity, occur due to peripheral vascular disease. ? Between forty five ? eighty three percent (45-83 %) of all BKA occur in diabetic patients. ? Fifty (50) percent of diabetics who have BKA will develop serious complications in the alternate limb. These information and statistics were found at
It is estimated that there are 350,000 amputees living in the United States with and estimated 135,000 new amputations occurring each year.
Contributed by Bonnie Rupke RN CLNC, Rupke & Associates LLC, PO Box 615, Hays, KS 67061, Phone/Fax (785) 625-4464.
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