Many of my clients have had to contend with losing a body part as a result of work injury. The recovery process can be long and challenging, especially if you are faced with relearning every day tasks that most people don’t think twice about.
If you are facing the possibility of an amputation as the result of a work injury, I wanted to provide you with some information on what you may be able to expect directly following the procedure. Review this information and, if you have questions or concerns, make sure you discuss them with your doctor prior to amputation surgery. Being well informed is one of the best ways to help manage some of the fear that I am sure many injured workers face prior to an amputation procedure.
Recovering from a work related amputation injury
Recovery from amputation depends on the type of procedure and anesthesia used.
In the hospital, the staff changes the dressings on the wound or teaches the patient to change them. The doctor monitors wound healing and any conditions that might interfere with healing, such as diabetes or hardening of the arteries. The doctor prescribes medications to ease pain and help prevent infection.
If the patient has problems with phantom pain (a sense of pain in the amputated limb) or grief over the lost limb, the doctor will prescribe medication and/or counseling, as necessary.
Physical therapy, beginning with gentle, stretching exercises, often begins soon after surgery. Practice with the artificial limb may begin as soon as 10 to 14 days after surgery.
Ideally, the wound should fully heal in about four to eight weeks. But the physical and emotional adjustment to losing a limb can be a long process. Long-term recovery and rehabilitation will include.