After suffering serious injuries in an accident, doctors work to determine what treatment will provide you with the best chance of getting back to a normal life. Unfortunately, that might mean the amputation of a limb. Fear and anxiety often surround hearing that you will lose a limb, but knowing what to expect might help reduce at least some of those emotions.
Why do I need an amputation?
An amputation becomes necessary when adequate blood flow to the affected limb stops. Without the flow of blood, oxygen and necessary nutrients do not get to the limb, which causes the tissue to die and an increase in the potential for infection rises. This could easily become a life-threatening condition without treatment. When no other treatment works, a doctor must amputate the limb to protect you and the rest of your body.
What happens next?
If an accident puts you in the hospital, an amputation itself extends your stay at least five to 14 days, depending on the circumstances, including whether any complications arise. The surgeon attempts to leave as much healthy tissue as possible while removing all of the damaged tissue.
How does the surgeon know where to cut?
Determining where to begin cutting requires an examination of the site for the following:
- A pulse near the surgical site
- Differing skin temperatures between healthy and diseased skin
- Areas where the skin turns reddish
- Whether you have feeling in a particular spot
The combination of these factors helps the surgeon determine where to amputate.
What happens during surgery?
Several steps require a surgeon’s attention during the operation:
- Removal of the affected bone and tissue
- Smoothing the remaining bone
- Closing off nerves and blood vessels
- Cutting and shaping muscles to allow for prosthesis
Whether the surgeon sutures the skin during this procedure or later depends on your situation and whether you might need to remove additional dead tissue. The physical wounds heal in approximately four to eight weeks, but the emotional wounds could take much longer to heal. In addition, you will more than likely require help adjusting to your new life.
Physical therapy tends to focus on strength exercises and performing day-to-day activities to provide you with the best chance possible at independence. You will also receive training to use prostheses and other medical devices, along with emotional support and counseling. Adjusting to the loss of a limb takes a significant commitment, patience and time.
During this time, you incur significant financial losses due to medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. You have enough on your plate in dealing with your new circumstances without having to worry about how you will pay your bills and support yourself and your family. If another party caused your accident, and the subsequent loss of your limb, you could benefit from speaking with a New York attorney. A review of your case could reveal that the filing of a personal injury claim might provide you with the compensation you deserve.