The treatment for an amputation depends on the injury, and on how much tissue has been lost. If the injury involves severe destruction of the amputated part, then re-attaching the amputated body part may be impossible. If the amputated tissue is very small, the open wound may be left to heal, without reattaching the tissue.
In most cases, the amputated portion is re-attached by a surgeon. A surgeon must decide if re-attaching the amputated body part will preserve function. The wound must be cleaned thoroughly, and foreign material must be removed before surgery. The surgical procedure may take many hours, as the surgeon attempts to reconnect bones, blood vessels, tendons, nerves, and other tissues. Depending on the injury, healing may take weeks to months.
Treatment for amputations due to injury may include:
- Wound irrigation
- Rinsing the wound
- Wound cleansing
- Wound exploration
- Wound debridement:
- Removal of dead or dirty tissue
- Removal of foreign bodies in the wound
- Tetanus vaccination
- Surgery to reattach amputated tissue
- Splint or cast
Amputations Amputated Part
Place the amputated tissue inside a clean, sealed plastic bag or cup and then place the container on ice. Avoid direct contact between the amputated part, and water or ice.
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat amputations:
Those with an amputation who require treatment to prevent tetanus include:
- Those who have not had 3 tetanus boosters in the past need a tetanus booster after a skin wound.
- Those who have not received a tetanus booster in the past 10 years need a tetanus booster after a skin wound.
- Those who have dirty wounds need a tetanus booster if they have not received a booster in the past 5 years.
Dirty wounds include:
- Wounds that occur outdoors
- Wounds that contain dirt or foreign material
- Tetanus booster:
- A tetanus booster stimulates the immune system to make antibodies against the tetanus toxin.
- A tetanus booster may be given to those who have received 3 tetanus boosters in the past.
- The tetanus booster may be given within 72 hours after the wound occurs.
- Tetanus Immune Globulin (TIG):
Tetanus Vaccine and TIG Recommendations
|History||Clean, Minor Wound||Other Wounds|
|< 3 boosters||give Td||give Td + TIG|
|3 boosters||possible Td||possible Td|
Clean and minor wounds may need a booster if it has been more than 10 years since the last tetanus vaccine. Other wounds may need a booster if it has been more than 5 years since last tetanus vaccine.
Continue to Amputations Home Care
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- Liang HW, Chen SY, Hsu JH, Chang CW. Work-related upper limb amputations in Taiwan, 1999-2001. Am J Ind Med. 2004 Dec;46(6):649-55. 
- McClure SK, Shaughnessy WJ. Farm-related limb amputations in children. J Pediatr Orthop. 2005 Mar-Apr;25(2):133-7. 
- Rosen RC. Digital amputations. Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 2005 Jul;22(3):343-63.