Amputation is an acquired condition that results in the loss of a limb, usually from injury, disease, or surgery. Congenital (present at birth) limb deficiency occurs when an infant is born without part or all of a limb. In the U.S., 82 percent of amputations are due to vascular disease. Nearly 70 percent of amputations due to trauma involve the upper limbs. About 2 million individuals in the U.S. are living with a loss of a limb, with more than 185,000 amputations performed each year according to the National Limb Loss Information Center.
The causes for amputation may include any of the following:
Loss of a limb produces a permanent disability that can impact a patient's self-image, self-care, and mobility (movement). Rehabilitation of the patient with an amputation begins after surgery during the acute treatment phase. As the patient's condition improves, a more extensive rehabilitation program is often begun.
The success of rehabilitation depends on many variables, including the following:
It is important to focus on maximizing the patient's capabilities at home and in the community. Positive reinforcement helps recovery by improving self-esteem and promoting independence. The rehabilitation program is designed to meet the needs of the individual patient. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of the program.
The goal of rehabilitation after an amputation is to help the patient return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life--physically, emotionally, and socially.
In order to help reach these goals, amputation rehabilitation programs may include the following:
Rehabilitation programs for patients with amputations can be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Many skilled professionals are part of the amputation rehabilitation team, including any/all of the following:
There are a variety of treatment programs, including the following:
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