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Amputation – treatment, care & rehabilitation

Recovery from an amputation is a complex process, which involves a large number of physical and mental requirements and challenges.

From the earliest moments spent in the hospital after surgery, to the return home and the readjustment to your day to day life, the process is an ordeal. Fortunately, most patients don’t have to go through it alone.

Here, you’ll find some more information on what to expect in the aftermath of an amputation.

After the operation

Once a patient has recovered from the anaesthetic, they may be placed on a catheter and left to focus on recovery with the help of strong painkillers.

When preparing to be discharged from hospital, patients will be consulted by medical professionals, social workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. The latter will provide help and advice on exercises to reduce the risk of blood clots and circulatory problems.

A series of follow-up meetings will be scheduled for the period after you return home. Your progress and mentality will be monitored and you will be provided with the support you need. You will also be granted access to amputee support groups in your area.

Amputation care is as psychological as it is physical but there are key physical requirements

Prosthesis

If the circumstances are suitable, you may be fitted with a prosthetic limb. As a suitable candidate (one who is established as having the physical wellbeing to compensate for the loss of the limb) you will experience a number of exercises to prepare you to use the limb.

The skin around the stump first needs to be desensitised so that the prosthesis is comfortable to wear. This involves gently tapping the skin with a cloth, reducing swelling with compression bandages and preventing scar tissue by rubbing the skin around the bone.

There are a variety of prosthetic limbs available, which are generally categorised as lower limb or upper limb prostheses.

Lower-limb prostheses often contain:

  • Socket – the area which touches the limb

  • Suspension system

  • Artificial joint

  • Pylon – replicating the leg bone

  • Prosthetic foot

Upper limb prostheses often contain:

  • Socket

  • Suspension system

  • Control mechanism – designed to replicate movements of the arm and hand

  • Terminal device – replicating the hand, in function though not always in appearance

In addition to primary prostheses, there is a wide variety of assistive technology available to make everyday tasks a little simpler for the user. Electronically operated beds can help patients up in the morning and voice activated computers can allow people to continue to operate their computer. Mobility aids, like scooters, wheelchairs and walking sticks are frequently used.

Homes and cars can be adapted in order to be used in spite of an amputation too, but all of these assistive technologies, home and vehicle adaptations require investment. That is why it is so important to get the compensation you deserve.

Psychological impact of amputation

The right treatment, care and assistive technology will make a massive difference to the life of the injured party but there is also a considerable psychological impact to think about.

Many people living with an amputation experience feelings of grief and bereavement in the same way they would a relative. There are three key aspects to the psychological impact of an amputation.

  • The loss of function of the amputated limb

  • The loss of sensation from the amputated limb

  • The negative body image and the perception from others

Negative thoughts are common following an amputation, particularly if the amputation was an accident or emergency and the injured person did not have time to prepare for the event.

The person can experience depression, anxiety, denial and might even feel suicidal.

Post traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD) is another factor and victims of traumatic amputation can relive their trauma and experiences other unpleasant symptoms.

It is important that the injured person is given all of the support and help that they need and this extends to their legal counsel.

We understand just how traumatic an amputation can be and we offer help, advice and support to our clients; and the friends and family around them. Talk to us today to find out more about amputation compensation claims.

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