(Amputation, Below-the-Knee; BKA)
- Poor healing of the amputation site that may require a higher level amputation
- Skin breakdown at the stump
- Decreased range of motion in the hip or knee
- Phantom sensation —feeling that the amputated limb is still there
- Phantom pain —feeling pain in the amputation area
- Stump swelling
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Heart attack
- Blood clots
- Poor blood flow
- Infection or open leg/foot ulcers
- Not being able to move for a long time
- Heart disease
- Smoking or lung disease
- Increased age
- History of clotting or bleeding disorders
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Examine your leg (check pulses, skin temperature, skin appearance, and sensitivity to touch)
Ask you questions like:
- What kind of help do you have at home?
- Would you like to talk to a therapist about the amputation?
- What kind of rehabilitation will I need?
- How long will my recovery be?
- See a physical therapist who will explain rehabilitation after surgery.
- Be asked not to eat or drink for 8-12 hours before your surgery—Ask your doctor if you should take regular medicines with a sip of water before surgery.
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the surgery. Medicines stopped may include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, aspirin )
- Blood thinners like clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
Description of Procedure
|A cut is made below the knee.|
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Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- You will receive antibiotics to prevent infection.
- You may be taught how to change your dressing.
- Physical therapy will begin in the hospital. Your therapist will show you how to stretch your hip and leg muscles to maintain range of motion. You will learn how to get in and out of bed and how to put weight on your leg. You may be taught how to use crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair until you can be fitted with a prosthesis.
- Get help from family and friends.
- Change your bandages. Replace them with sterile bandages.
- You will need to continue physical therapy. It will help you build strength and maintain range of motion. You will also learn how use a prosthesis.
- Take care of your stump and prosthesis.
- Many people feel depressed after this type of surgery. Consider talking to a therapist or psychologist.
- Check with your doctor about which medicines to take at home.
- Ask your doctor when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .
Call Your Doctor
- Stump swelling
- Poorly fitting prosthesis
- Pain that is not controlled with pain medicines that you have been given
- Signs of infection, like fever or chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, a lot of bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given, or which continue for more than two days after leaving the hospital
- Cough , shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, rash, or other new symptoms
American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org
American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society http://www.aofas.org
Amputee Coalition of America http://www.amputee-coalition.org
Canadian Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Amputation. Society for Vascular Surgery website. Available at: http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/amputation.aspx . Updated September 2011. Accessed November 12, 2012.
Amputation, above-the-knee. EBSCO Health Library. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated December 21, 2011. Accessed November 12, 2012.
Professional Guide to Diseases . 9th ed. Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/12/2012 -