Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Traumatic Amputation

Traumatic amputation is the accidental cutting off of some or all of a body part. A complete amputation totally detaches a limb from the rest of the body. In a partial amputation, some tissue remains attached to the site. When the patient and the amputated part reach the hospital a trauma doctor will assess the possibility of successfully reattaching the body part. The first priority for the doctors caring for the patient will be to control the loss of blood. Saving the patient’s life is always more important than recovering the amputated body part. About 80% of all patients that suffer from an amputation experience tingling, itching, numbness, or pain in the place where the amputated part used to be. This is called phantom pain or sensation. Phantom pain may begin immediately after the amputation or may develop months or years later. These feelings may occur frequently, seldom, mild or strong, or last a few minutes or several hours. Possible complications could be excessive bleeding, infection, muscle shortening, or pulmonary embolism (blood clot to the lung). Patients suffering from an amputation usually require several months of rehabilitation to heal and to get used to functioning without the body part.