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Amputation - traumatic

  • Definition

    Traumatic amputation is the loss of a body part -- usually a finger, toe, arm, or leg -- that occurs as the result of an accident or injury.


    Alternative Names

    Loss of a body part


    Considerations

    If an accident or trauma results in complete amputation (the body part is totally severed), the part sometimes can be reattached, especially when proper care is taken of the severed part and stump.

    In a partial amputation, some soft-tissue connection remains. Depending on the severity of the injury, the partially severed extremity may or may not be able to be reattached.

    There are various complications associated with amputation of a body part. The most important of these are bleeding, shock, and infection. See also: Wounds

    The long-term outcome for amputees has improved due to better understanding of the management of traumatic amputation, early emergency and critical care management, new surgical techniques, early rehabilitation, and new prosthetic designs. New limb replantation techniques have been moderately successful, but incomplete nerve regeneration remains a major limiting factor.

    Often, the patient will have a better outcome from having a well-fitting, functional prosthesis than a nonfunctional replanted limb.


    Causes

    Traumatic amputations usually result directly from factory, farm, or power tool accidents or from motor vehicle accidents. Natural disasters, war, and terrorist attacks can also cause traumatic amputations.