Elective Amputation: How to Decide
Are You Considering Amputation?
People who suffer catastrophic damage to a body part face very limited options. They can undergo multiple surgical procedures, such as skin, muscle, and bone grafts, to repair the damaged limb in piecemeal fashion, and then hope and pray for recovery, while potentially dealing with persistent debilitation and pain. Or, they can elect to get an amputation, which presents a threshold to new possibilities – a first step towards functional mobility – yet also entails dramatic anatomical adjustment and consequential lifestyle changes. It’s a decision no one should have to make, but the unfortunately reality is that thousands of people are forced to make it every year.
The good news is that it is now easier than ever for amputees to lead independent and fulfilling lives, thanks to recent advancements in medical science and technology. However, an amputation is still a major procedure that should never be taken lightly due to its irreversible nature, and individuals confronting the decision to amputate should thoroughly evaluate their case with input from trusted peers and qualified medical professionals.
If you are facing this difficult conundrum, it is highly advised that you consider the following factors before making your final decision:
- Is it infected? If your injury has led to an infection, you may need to get the affected body part amputated before the infection spreads further, potentially causing severe sepsis.
- How functional is the limb? It is possible to “salvage” a seriously damaged limb, but total recovery of function is extremely rare. Most patients are left with a partially functioning limb. Some are left with complete dead weight. It is up to you to assess your circumstances and weigh the pros and cons of either decision.
- Are you in constant pain? If you’re considering an amputation due to chronic pain, know this: pain after amputation is very unpredictable. In other words, an amputation does not guarantee a solution. Approximately 15 percent of amputees suffer really severe pain, while many more experience pain at moderate levels. Your chances of enduring pain after an amputation are higher if you have reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) or joint pain.
- How much of your body are you willing to sacrifice to save the limb? If you decide to salvage your limb, you will likely have to sacrifice other parts of your body for graft operations, whether it be skin, bone, or muscle. Furthermore, this process can take several months to complete – and success is far from guaranteed. Past a certain point, it may be best to abandon limb-salvage in favor of amputation.
In either case, you will likely face exorbitant medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other physical, mental, emotional, and financial damages. If you suffered your injury in a traffic collision caused by another party, please don’t hesitate to contact Wilshire Law Firm and get the justice you deserve with help from our tenacious personal injury attorneys. We fight hard to get our clients the compensation they deserve and need to get on the road to recovery. For more information about our firm, call us today at (800) 522-7274.