Foot amputation is surgery to remove part or all of your foot. Your doctor will leave as much healthy skin, blood vessel, and nerve tissue as possible. You will be asleep during the surgery.
Your doctor will tell you how much of your foot should be removed. He or she will leave enough healthy skin to cover the residual limb or the remaining part of your foot. Some people get an artificial foot. This is called a prosthesis. If you get one, your doctor will shape the remaining part of your leg or foot for the best possible fit.
Your doctor may sew the skin closed to cover the residual limb or remaining part of your foot. Or he or she may leave it open to make sure that it heals as it should. In this case, the skin may be sewn together several days later. Or it may be left open to heal on its own. Skin that is left open can take a few months to close.
How long you will stay in the hospital after surgery depends on how much of your foot was removed. It also depends on your general health. You may need physical rehabilitation (rehab) after the surgery. Rehab can sometimes start within 48 hours of your surgery. It may last as long as 1 year.
Having part or all of your foot removed is traumatic. Learning to live with new limitations can be hard and frustrating. You may feel depressed. Or you may grieve for the lifestyle you used to have. Talking with your family, friends, and health professionals about your frustrations may help. You may also find that it helps to talk with a person who has had an amputation.
Remember that even though losing part or all of your foot is a challenge, it does not change who you are or prevent you from enjoying life. You will have to adapt and learn new ways to do things. But you will still be able to work and take part in sports and activities. And you can still learn, love, play, and live life to its fullest.
Many organizations can help you adjust to your new life. Websites for some of these include www.amputee.ca, www.amputeecoalitioncanada.org, and www.canadianamputeesports.ca.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
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