Amputation Rehabilitation

Friday, September 11, 2015

Each year, more than 130,000 individuals in the United States undergo the amputation of a limb and face a challenging period of physical recovery. Dr. Edward Hill describes that process in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

The type of care a patient requires just after an amputation varies greatly depending on his or her overall health and strength.

The patients wound must heal while avoiding complications such as infection or necrosis. As the wound heals, the patient will undergo physical and occupational therapy. The therapist works to make sure the muscles are strengthened and that the patient learns to use adaptive devices such as a walker.

During the initial healing process, a stump shrinker may be applied.

This is a prosthetic reducer made of elastic material. It is designed to help control swelling of the residual limb and shrink it in preparation for a prosthetic fitting. Once the wound is healed and the stump has shrunken, an artificial limb can be fitted. A specialist called a prosthetist usually does this.

Rehabilitation may be needed to facilitate successful use of the prostheses and other assistive devices to regain independence. Most patients need professional assistance to deal with the normal grieving process of losing a limb.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.