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Recovering After Lower Limb Amputation

Before Your Surgery

Your feelings

It’s normal to feel anxious about any type of surgery. Having surgery to remove all or part of your limb (called an amputation) can be scary. You may feel a sense of loss, grief, anger or depression. You may be worried about how the amputation is going to affect your lifestyle, work, and the activities you like to do. These feelings are normal so it’s important to talk to your surgeon, nurse, therapists and other healthcare providers about any questions or concerns you have.

About your surgery

Your surgery will be done by a surgeon but you may also have a rehabilitation doctor called a physiatrist on your team. Your doctors will talk to you about how the amputation and recovery will affect:

  • your overall health
  • the health and strength of your remaining leg after the amputation
  • how much of the lower limb is removed (called the level of amputation)
  • your choices for fitting a prosthesis (artificial leg)
  • how the prosthesis will look and work
Levels of Amputation

There are different levels of amputation:

  • above-the-knee (AKA)
  • through the knee
  • below-the-knee (BKA)
  • at the ankle
  • removal of the toes and / or part of the foot

There are two types of amputation:

A closed amputation uses a skin and muscle flap to cover the amputation area after the surgery.

An open amputation is sometimes used if the amputation area cannot be closed for some reason (such as infection) and the area needs to drain or you may need more elaborate wound care or more surgery. The amputation area will be closed when it has healed or is ready to be closed.​

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