Many injured workers suffer the awful reality that they may lose a body part due to a work accident. Some injuries are so severe that the extremity may have already been severed from the body while other injured workers undergo amputation medically. If you are facing the possibility of undergoing a medical amputation, I have supplied some information from www.webmd.com to give you some insight as to what happens during the procedure.
Your particular medical condition may or may not match up with this information. Make sure any questions, concerns, or uncertainties you have are discussed with your doctor – this information is not intended as medical advice.
The Amputation Medical Procedure after a Work Injury
- An amputation usually requires a hospital stay of five to 14 days or more, depending on the surgery and complications. The procedure itself may vary, depending on the limb or extremity being amputated and the patient’s general health.
- Amputation may be done under general anesthesia (meaning the patient is asleep) or with spinal anesthesia, which numbs the body from the waist down.
- When performing an amputation, the surgeon removes all damaged tissue while leaving as much healthy tissue as possible.
- A doctor may use several methods to determine where to cut and how much tissue to remove. These include:
- Checking for a pulse close to where the surgeon is planning to cut
- Comparing skin temperatures of the affected limb with those of a healthy limb
- Looking for areas of reddened skin
- Checking to see if the skin near the site where the surgeon is planning to cut is still sensitive to touch
During the amputation procedure, the surgeon will:
- Remove the diseased tissue and any crushed bone
- Smooth uneven areas of bone
- Seal off blood vessels and nerves
- Cut and shape muscles so that the stump, or end of the limb, will be able to have an artificial limb (prosthesis) attached to it
- The surgeon may choose to close the wound right away by sewing the skin flaps (called a closed amputation). Or the surgeon may leave the site open for several days in case there’s a need to remove additional tissue.
- The surgical team then places a sterile dressing on the wound and may place a stocking over the stump to hold drainage tubes or bandages. The doctor may place the limb in traction, in which a device holds it in position, or may use a splint.