Section IX. AMPUTATION
a. Surgical amputation of a limb is done to remove dead or unhealthy tissue that
cannot be treated by any other means. In many cases, amputation is done as a
lifesaving measure. Reasons for amputation include the following.
(1) Trauma. Injuries from combat, explosions, crushing injuries, and other
trauma may necessitate amputation if the extent of the injury is quite severe.
(2) Thermal injuries. Electrical injuries, frostbite, and burns may be severe
enough for amputation to be necessary.
(3) Peripheral vascular disease. Most nonemergency amputations are done
because of severely compromised circulation due to vascular disease.
(4) Infection. In case of severe infection of the bone or soft tissue of a limb,
amputation may be required. Osteomyelitis and gas gangrene are two such examples.
(5) Congenital deformity. In some cases, amputation is advised to remove
a deformed and useless limb to permit the fitting of a functional prosthesis.
(6) Tumors. Malignancy that does not respond to any form of therapy and
threatens to metastasize throughout the bone often results in amputation of all or part of
(7) Chronic pain. An extremity may be painful because of a circulatory
problem or other disease process. Amputation may be indicated if the pain cannot be
controlled in any other way.
b. Whatever the reason, amputation is a major operation. Long-range planning
is necessary for the patient's rehabilitation; continuous care and teaching are necessary
while the patient recovers.
1-51. THE SITE OF AMPUTATION
a. The exact location for the amputation of a limb is based on several factors.
The physician will always strive to preserve as much of the limb as possible, but there
are other considerations involved in the decision. For example:
The blood supply available to the remaining limb.
The functional ability of the remaining limb.