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Amputation Causes and Procedure: What You Need to Know

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Feb 16, 2023

Amputation Causes and Procedure: What You Need to Know

What is Amputation? What are Amputation Causes?

Amputation is the removal of a specific part of a limb from surgery, injury, or disease. Doctors consider this a major surgery. Surgeons will perform the procedure while the patient is under general or epidural anesthesia. What are amputation causes, or reasons for amputation? This procedure is sometimes needed for the body to improve its current condition. Amputation is the last resort following accidents or diseases. It is permanent and can be life-changing for the patient and his or her family.

Most of amputations performed are due to vascular diseases such as diabetes. Another cause may be severe trauma from injuries which may be a result of accidents.

What are The Types Of Amputation?

There are 2 common types of amputation, which are:

Upper Limb amputation

Upper limb amputation includes the fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

Lower Extremity amputation

Lower limb amputation includes the hips, knees, ankles, feet, and toes.

Levels of Amputation

There are corresponding levels as to how the limbs are amputated. The level of amputation depends on how much of a limb can still be saved given the patient’s current condition. It considers the benefits for the amputee once the operation has been completed.

The levels indicate how much will be removed from the specific body part. For example, amputations in the knees may be below, through, or above the knee.

Amputation Causes

Amputations are the last option to improve the condition of the patient. Here are some amputation causes, or reasons why doctors may recommend amputation:

  • Infections that severely affects the limbs
  • Deformation in the limbs which limits its function and mobility
  • Diseases that resulted in gangrene or death of body tissue due to poor blood flow
  • Injuries or trauma from accidents
  • Surgery where it is necessary to remove a body part

Before going through the operation, doctors will exhaust all other options.

After surgery, patients must also undergo rehabilitation. This includes learning how they will be able to live his or her life after the surgery. Being an amputee is both a physical and emotional experience and can alter a person’s life moving forward.

Amputation Causes: Risks and Complications

Complications that may arise from amputation include:

  • Heart problems
  • Deep vein thrombosis or blood clot in the veins which results in pain and swelling
  • Pneumonia
  • Infections
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Stump and phantom limb pain

It is also important to understand that there is a psychological effect in going through amputation. It may arise from trauma from injuries or the medical condition which required the procedure. Some patients undergo depression and anxiety as amputation changes how you do your everyday life. Whether it is physical or emotional stress that you are experiencing, consult your doctor so they can help you to get through with it.

Key Takeaway

Amputation is a life-changing major operation where surgeons remove a specific part of the body. Some causes for amputation include severe trauma, infections, and diseases resulting from the death of body tissue. Going through with it is an emotional and physical experience for the person, as the operation will result in a different way of living. Knowing what goes on with amputation enables us to be more understanding of other people going through it and make better decisions in the future.

Learn about Medical Procedures and Surgeries here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Feb 16, 2023

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