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Early delayed amputation: A paradigm shift in the limb-salvage time line for patients with major upper-limb injury

Todd E. Burdette, MD, et al.

Figure. Case report 2 of male patient. Customized myoelectric prosthesis with pincer attachment 20 months postinjury.

Patients with major upper-limb injuries often choose limb-salvage surgery, but sometimes they end up with a useless, painful, or stiff limb that functions poorly. They may then choose amputation and a prosthesis, hoping for improved function. We present three patients who chose amputation 6 months after their injury. Surgeries were unable to salvage a useful limb for them. They all waited another 4 to 6 months before an amputation was performed. In retrospect, they each regret the additional waiting for the amputation. We propose that limb-salvage patients should be offered the choice of amputation 6 months after their injury-a time line change that may avoid unnecessary surgery and relieve suffering for those who are unhappy with their injured limbs.


Volume 46 Number 3, 2009
   Pages 385 — 394


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