Saturday, August 11, 2012
When do I need amputation?
Most people who require an amputation have PAD, a traumatic injury, or cancer.
PAD is the leading cause of amputation in people age 50 and older, and accounts for up to 90 percent of amputations overall. Normally, surgeons treat advanced PAD through other methods, like controlling infection using antibiotics and draining or removing any infected tissue as well as performing surgery or other procedures to increase the blood flow to the affected area. However, if these treatments do not work, or if the tissue damage is too far advanced initially, amputation will remove a source of major infection and may be necessary to save your life.
A traumatic injury, such as a car accident or a severe burn, can also destroy blood vessels and cause tissue death. As a result, infection if not adequately treated, can spread through your body and threaten your life. Your medical team will make every effort to save your limb by surgically replacing or repairing your damaged blood vessels or using donor tissue. However, if these measures do not work, amputation can save your life. Traumatic injuries are the most common reason for amputations in people younger than age 50.
Your physician may recommend amputation if you have a cancerous tumor in your limb. You may also receive chemotherapy, radiation, or other treatments to destroy the cancer cells. Depending upon the particular circumstances, these treatments can shrink the tumor and may increase the effectiveness of your amputation.