An amputation is the surgical removal or traumatic loss of a part of the body, in this case, the finger, hand, wrist, or upper limb. Amputations can occur for various reasons, including accidents, injuries, congenital conditions, or medical necessity.
Causes of amputations
Amputations in the finger, hand, wrist, or upper limb can result from:
Trauma: Accidents, machinery mishaps, or severe injuries can necessitate amputation.
Medical conditions: Certain conditions, such as severe infections or vascular diseases, may require surgical amputation to save a patient's life or prevent further complications.
Congenital defects: Some individuals are born with congenital limb abnormalities that may require surgical intervention.
Recovery from amputations
Recovery from amputations is a complex and challenging process that typically involves several stages:
Immediate medical care: After amputation, immediate medical care is essential to control bleeding, minimise infection risk, and stabilise the patient's condition. Call 000 for an ambulance.
Consult with an expert: Consider seeing an Accredited Hand Therapist for ongoing care once the injury is stable. An Accredited Hand Therapist is a physiotherapist or occupational therapist with expertise in the finger, hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.
Surgical closure and healing: The surgical site is closed, and the residual limb can heal. This phase may involve the use of temporary dressings or a prosthetic limb.
Rehabilitation exercises: Accredited Hand Therapists work with patients to optimise the function and strength of the remaining limb. They may also assist in preparing for the use of prosthetic devices.
Prosthetic evaluation and fitting: Patients are evaluated for prosthetic limbs if appropriate. Prosthetists create custom devices to help individuals regain mobility and function.