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Amputation

Trying to decide

07/18/2007

Question:

Hey back on Oct 1 2006 I was in an accident that shaterd both of my legs from the knees down, at this point in time I have been through 9 surgeries and most of them where on my left leg. After it all I still am unable to walk and have a MRSA infection in my left leg and I have saver nerve dameage. But now I have been told that my options are to have my left leg amputated below the knee or have it bone graphted and have my ankle fused my right leg is doing good but my question is which has the least risk of long term problems

Answer:

The physicians who have been providing your medical and surgical care are in the best position to guide you with making the most appropriate decision for your particular situation.

Although both amputation and joint fusion are irreversible surgical procedures, ankle fusion is doable before possible below knee amputation later, whereas the reverse is certainly not the case. That is, why undergo a below knee amputation if an ankle fusion can be done? Although there are certainly numerous prosthetic options available for those who undergo amputation surgery, a prosthesis can not replace sensory perception, nor active movement; following an ankle fusion, you should still be able to move your toes, and to some extent also, your foot. This would of course depend on the extent of nerve damage you mentioned, and whether it is potentially reversible vs. permanent.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University