Amputation is a surgery to remove all or part of a leg or toe. Amputations are done because tissue in the leg or toe is diseased and unable to heal properly. It is also done to keep the disease from spreading throughout the body. The goal is to restore the ability to function because the removal of the diseased tissue can improve overall health.

Amputation: Why it is Needed

Dr. Robbins schedules amputations only after he has tried to treat the problem in other ways or determined that the tissue damage can’t heal normally. The tissue could be severely infected or even dead. Some reasons for tissue damage include the following causes:

  • Non-healing foot ulcer
  • Severe infection due to wounds
  • Reduced blood flow due to peripheral arterial disease (PAD)

Sometimes the problem is due to a combination of these causes.

About Amputation

Dr. Robbins will save as much of your limb as he can, which may include joints such as the knee. Occasionally another surgery is needed to remove more of the leg in order to improve healing and preserve overall health.

After Surgery

Right after surgery there will be some sort of pressure dressing on the remaining limb to help the healing process and prevent swelling as much as possible. Physical therapy (PT) can be started soon after surgery. PT helps prevent muscle and joint tightness and improves overall strength. PT also teaches safe ways to transfer between a bed and other surfaces such as a chair.

Long-Term Care

Several months after surgery Dr. Robbins may refer you to an orthotist, someone who specializes in prosthetics. A process called stump shrinking is begun. This involves applying pressure bandages and other specifically designed dressings to shrink the stump. Ultimately this allows for a prosthetic devise to be fitted and worn.

Living with Limb Loss

Losing a limb is life-changing, so it is normal to feel upset, sad, or even angry. Remember that the goal of this surgery is to restore function and preserve overall health. The following list includes some resources available to you and your family for support.