Amputation surgery

Amputation is surgery done to remove a limb or part of a limb. It's done when tissue in the limb is diseased or damaged and cannot be healed. The surgeon saves as much of your limb as possible. This may include joints, such as the knee. But you may not know before the surgery how much of the limb will remain. Amputation is meant to restore function. Removing your diseased or damaged limb can improve your health. Common causes of amputation include peripheral artery disease that causes poor blood supply to an area due to injury,diabetes, infection, and cancer.

Conditions treated by Amputation

Amputation is only considered a last-resort option for treatment, as it is a life-altering procedure. These include:

  • Severe injuries in which the limb or extremity cannot be repaired
  • Frostbite
  • Complications from diabetes that cause tissue death
  • Infections and wounds that won’t heal
  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which damages the arteries and affects blood flow
  • Gangrene
  • Thickened nerve tissue (neuroma)

Without amputation, these conditions can cause sepsis, tissue death, and organ failure.


Before the Procedure

  • Your surgeon will explain in detail regarding the procedure.
  • In addition to a thorough medical history, your surgeon may conduct a physical exam to ensure your overall health. You may be subjected to blood or other tests.
  • If you have a history of bleeding problems or are taking any blood-thinning (anticoagulant) medications, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting, inform your surgeon. You may be instructed to discontinue these medications prior to the procedure.
  • You will be asked to fast for approximately 8 hours, generally after midnight, the day before the procedure.
  • Inform your surgeon if you are allergic or sensitive to any medications, latex, tape, or local or general anesthesia.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines and herbal supplements that you are taking.
  • You may be measured for a prosthetic limb.
  • You may be given a sedative to help you relax.

During the Procedure

  • You will be asked to put on a gown.
  • An intravenous line may be started in your hand or arm.
  • You will be placed on the operating table.
  • During the procedure, the anesthesiologist will monitor heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level.
  • A thin, narrow catheter tube may be inserted into your bladder to drain urine.
  • The skin over the surgical area will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
  • The surgeon will monitor for a pulse at a joint close to the site to determine the amount of tissue to be removed. The color of skin, skin temperatures, and the pain in the diseased portion of the limb will be compared with that in a healthy limb.
  • The surgeon will try to preserve as much of the functional stump length as possible. In addition, surgeons will leave as much healthy skin as possible to cover the stump.
  • If the amputation was caused by an injury, the crushed bone will be removed and smoothened to make it easier to use an artificial limb. Temporary drains that drain blood and other fluids may be inserted if necessary.
  • The surgeon may close the flaps after completely removing the dead tissue. This is known as a closed amputation. Alternatively, the surgeon may choose to leave the surgical site open. This is known as open-flap amputation.
  • In a closed amputation, the wound will be sutured right away. This is usually done if there is a mild risk of infection.
  • In an open-flap amputation, the skin remains drawn back from the amputation area for several days to clean off any infected tissue. Once the stump tissue is clean and infection-free, the skin flaps will be sutured to close the wound.
  • A sterile dressing or bandage or dressing will be applied.
  • The surgeon may use a stocking to hold drainage tubes and wound dressings over the amputation site, or the limb may be placed in traction or a splint.

After the Procedure

  • You may be shifted to the recovery room following the procedure. Your recovery time will vary depending on the procedure and anaesthesia used. The affected extremities blood flow and sensation will be assessed. You will be taken to the hospital room once your pulse, blood pressure, and breathing are stable and you are alert.
  • You will be given pain relievers and antibiotics as needed. The dressing will be changed and closely monitored.
  • Soon after your surgery, you will begin physical therapy. Rehabilitation is tailored to your specific requirements. Gentle stretching, special exercises, and assistance getting into and out of bed or a wheelchair may be included.
  • Prosthetic devices are made and fitted by specialists. They will visit you soon after the surgery and show you how to use the prosthesis. Depending on your comfort and wound healing, you could start practising with your artificial limb as soon as 10- 14 days after surgery.
  • You will be hospitalized for several days following the amputation. You will be shown how to change your dressing. When your healing process is complete and you are able to care for yourself with assistance, you will be discharged home.
  • You may experience emotional distress following surgery. You may be grieving for the loss of a limb or suffering from phantom pain. This is pain or sensation in your amputated limb. In this case, you may be given medications or other nonsurgical treatments.


  • Further surgery needed to remove more of the limb
  • Poor wound healing
  • Infection
  • Severe bleeding
  • Pain, including nerve-related symptoms, chronic pain, and phantom limb pain
  • Blood clots
  • Heart problems (heart attack, arrhythmias, heart failure)
  • Inability to fully straighten the limb
  • Depression
  • Phantom pain

Care at Medicover

We at Medicover Hospital have the most eminent experienced team of general surgeons who provide excellent treatment to patients with precision, safety and expertise. The entire treatment process and the follow-up schedules are tailored to corroborate lasting results. Our hospital is equipped with advanced technology to perform amputation bringing out successful outcomes. This allows the patients to receive the best possible care for their conditions.

Make an appointment just in few minutes - Call Us Now

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is amputation?

Amputation is the surgical procedure to remove all or part of a limb or extremities such as an arm, hand, leg, foot, finger or toe. It is usually done to treat a medical condition, injury or disease that has damaged the limb or extremity beyond repair.

2. What are the most common reasons for amputation?

The most common reasons for amputation include peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, cancer, trauma, infection, and congenital limb deformities.

3. How is amputation performed?

Amputation is usually performed under general anaesthesia. The surgeon may make an incision in the skin, muscle and then removes the bone and tissue that is being amputated. The remaining skin and muscle are then brought together and sutured.

4. What are the risks associated with amputation?

The risks associated with amputation include infection, blood clots, bleeding, nerve damage, phantom limb pain, and slow healing of the wound.

5. What is phantom limb pain?

Phantom limb pain is a common problem experienced by people who have undergone amputation. It is the sensation of pain or discomfort in the limb that has been amputated, even though it is no longer there.

6. How can phantom limb pain be treated?

Phantom limb pain can be treated with medications, such as antidepressants or anticonvulsants, physical therapy, acupuncture, or psychological therapy.

7. What is the recovery process after an amputation?

The recovery process after an amputation can take several months. It typically involves physical therapy, rehabilitation, and the use of prosthetic devices.

8. What are prosthetic devices?

Prosthetic devices are artificial limbs or body parts that are designed to replace missing or damaged limbs or body parts. They can be custom-made to fit the individual and can be used to help with mobility and daily activities.

9. Can amputated limbs be reattached?

In some cases, amputated limbs can be reattached if the limb is still viable and the amputation is recent. However, the success of reattachment depends on many factors, including the type of injury, the length of time since the injury, and the overall health of the patient.

10. How can someone cope emotionally after an amputation?

Coping emotionally after an amputation can be challenging. It is important to seek support from family, friends, and healthcare professionals. Joining support groups, participating in physical therapy and rehabilitation, and engaging in activities that are enjoyable can also be helpful in coping with the emotional impact of amputation.