After a car accident or personal injury, you may suffer serious injuries. If your medical team says you could lose a limb, you may experience great anxiety.
WebMD explains the basics of amputation procedures. Get answers to your questions, so you may experience a measure of peace of mind.
Before the procedure
You may stay in the hospital for five to 14 days before your surgery, but that depends on whether you experience complications and the specific surgery. The surgery you need depends on your health and the body part in question. Your medical team may administer local anesthesia for your spine, or you may receive general anesthesia that puts you to sleep.
During the procedure
To gauge how much tissue to remove and where to make an incision, surgeons compare skin temperatures of healthy and affected limbs, check the pulse near the operation site, check for reddened skin and gauge skin sensitivity.
Once the surgery starts, doctors get rid of dead tissue and damaged bone and seal nerves and blood vessels. The surgical team also cuts and molds muscle to accommodate a prosthetic limb. Depending on how the procedure goes, the doctor may sew the skin flaps closed or leave the surgical site as is, in case the body party requires additional tissue removal.
After the procedure
After the amputation, the patient may receive pain medication to relieve discomfort and prevent infection. Those who need mental support after losing a limb may receive counseling. Patients start physical therapy soon after the amputation procedure.
Learning you may lose a limb could alter your life. By knowing what to expect during the surgery, you can sort out your emotions and make a plan for your future.