Amputation process: before the amputation
Perhaps you have been aware of the need for an amputation for some time. Or maybe you heard this life-changing news only today. Regardless of your situation, you are not alone. Your treatment team is there to support and assist you. We have put together an overview of information to help you better understand the process that lies ahead.
An amputation is necessary when a sick body part can no longer heal, if the patient’s life is in danger or if the quality of the patient’s life will improve by amputating the body part.
The causes of an amputation range from blood circulation problems to an infection and from an accident to cancer. An amputation may also be carried out due to a congenital defect to the body part. In most cases, the patient knows beforehand that the amputation is to take place. In some instances, however, such as after a serious accident, the amputation is completely unexpected.
Examination and consultation
If your amputation is a planned operation, you will be examined thoroughly in the hospital a number of times before the surgery. Your doctors will explain what will happen both during and after the operation. If you are losing a limb due to an accident, this explanation will probably take place after the operation.
During the consultations in the hospital, you will have the opportunity to talk about any concerns and ask questions. Take notes so that you can read through everything again later as reference. Don’t worry about asking too many questions; it is up to the doctors to explain everything as clearly as possible.
Before an amputation is carried out, the doctor will determine where the body part will be amputated. This is called the amputation level. There are various amputation levels that are possible with foot and leg amputations and with hand and arm amputations.
If possible, you can start doing the exercises required after the amputation before the operation. This will strengthen your muscles somewhat. It is also worthwhile to practice going from your bed to your wheelchair. If you start practicing these things beforehand, you will progress with your rehabilitation more quickly after the operation. Ask your doctor and physical therapist about which exercises are appropriate for you.
An amputation is a traumatic event, so you might want to consider seeking psychological help. This can help you better deal with problems and fears and take some of the weight off your shoulders. Here are a few tips for increasing your sense of self-worth.
Before your operation, talk to people who have already undergone an amputation. It can be helpful to hear how others have dealt with this situation. They may also have good tips for you. The Movao community provides information on amputations and prostheses. Become a member and get access to all of this information and become part of an international network.