by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Amputation is surgery to remove a body part. It is removed because of disease or damage.
Reasons for Procedure
It may be done for:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review these problems, such as:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to lower your risk of problems, such as:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your surgery may be planned. In this case, your doctor will review with you how it is done and what to expect. Your surgery may be due to an emergency. There may not be time to plan.
Before surgery, you doctor may:
Leading up to your surgery:
The anesthesia used will depend on the body part being removed. You may have:
Description of Procedure
An incision will be made into the skin of the limb or limb part. If needed, the muscles will also be cut. Blood vessels will be tied off or sealed to stop them from bleeding. The bone will then be cut through. The body part will be removed.
Muscle will be pulled over the bone. It will be sutured in place. The skin will be pulled over the muscle. It will be sewn to form a stump. A dressing will be placed over the area.
If infection is involved, the incision may be left open to heal.
How Long Will It Take?
Surgery can take 20 minutes to many hours. It depends on the body part and your health.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain. Pain and discomfort after surgery can be managed with medicines.
Average Hospital Stay
Your hospital stay will depend on the body part you had removed. Typically:
Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if problems arise.
At the Hospital
After surgery, you can expect that:
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
Stitches will be removed within a few weeks. When you return home:
Call Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing or you have problems, such as:
If you think you have emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Diabetes Association
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Diabetes Association
The Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Bone sarcoma in the upper extremity: treatment options using limb salvage or amputation. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated October 2007. Accessed November 10, 2017.
Fingertip injuries/amputations. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated July 2016. Accessed November 10, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated: 5/14/2018
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