Traumatic injury and disease are common reasons for amputation, which is the removal of a body part. For example, amputations of the hand or fingers could be a method of keeping infection from spreading into the body. Occasionally, unplanned amputation occurs, as in an accident that leads to the loss of fingers or a hand. In some cases, fingers that were accidentally amputated can actually be reattached, but this is not always feasible for the comfort of the patient.
The Amputation Procedure
Before any procedure is completed, the surgeon will take the time to examine the body part that is expected to be removed. They will use tests, such as x-rays, to determine the damage and its extent so that they can better prepare for the procedure ensuring that they remove the right amount of hand or fingers.
Depending on the extent of the surgery needed, the physician will use one of two methods to close the wound:
- The existing skin and tissues will be used to close the wound at the amputation site.
- Skin, tendons, or muscles will be taken from another part of the body and then used to close the wound at the amputation site.
Generally, the surgeon will do their best to leave the remaining tissue shaped in a way that a prosthetic will easily be fitted for the patient.
Recovery from Surgery
In the few weeks after surgery, you will feel some discomfort at the amputation site. Pain medications will be used to control the discomfort while you go through the healing process. You will need to keep your hand properly bandaged and cleaned until the doctor states bandages can be removed.
During recovery, you will need to perform certain exercises and processes so that you can strengthen your hand and ensure you keep the muscles and tissues flexible.
Anytime someone loses a body part, they may go through some emotional difficulties and they may find it hard to adapt to the new changes. You may even wish to consider counseling to get you through the difficult time. Its a good idea to seek help if you are feeling emotionally distressed or stressed in the wake of your amputation. You may be able to get that help from resources like the Amputee Coalition of America, found at www.Amputee-Coalition.org.
In many cases, you will be able to get a prosthesis to replace your amputated body part. The exact type of prosthetic will depend on what part is missing, what remains of the hand or finger, and what you prefer yourself. Prosthesis for amputated or partially amputated fingers usually are for looks and to provide opposition so that you can still use your thumb and fingers normally. Prosthetic hands can be used with bendable fingers. Finally, prosthetics for the full arm can include electric and mechanical parts to create a usable hand.
If you have to go through the amputation process, keep in mind that you will have options during healing. While this is a stressful and emotional procedure, you dont have to live with the consequences, thanks to prosthetics.