Skip to Content
Leg or foot amputation is the removal of a leg, foot or toes from the body. These body parts are called extremities. Amputations are done either by surgery or they occur by accident or trauma to the body.
Amputation - foot; Amputation - leg; Trans-metatarsal amputation; Below knee amputation; BK amputation; Above knee amputation; AK amputation; Trans-femoral amputation; Trans-tibial amputation
Reasons for having an amputation of a lower limb are:
Risks of any surgery are:
Risks of this surgery are:
When your amputation is planned, you will be asked to do certain things to prepare for it. Tell your health care provider:
During the days before your surgery, you may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), warfarin (Coumadin), and any other medicines that make it hard for your blood to clot.
Ask your provider which medicines you should still take on the day of your surgery. If you smoke, stop.
If you have diabetes, follow your diet and take your medicines as usual until the day of surgery.
On the day of the surgery, you will likely be asked not to drink or eat anything for 8 to 12 hours before your surgery.
Take any medicines you have been told to take with a small sip of water. If you have diabetes, follow the directions your provider gave you.
Prepare your home before surgery:
The end of your leg (residual limb) will have a dressing and bandage that will remain on for 3 or more days. You may have pain for the first few days. You will be able to take pain medicine as you need them.
You may have a tube that drains fluid from the wound. This will be taken out after a few days.
Before leaving the hospital, you will begin learning how to:
Fitting for prosthesis, a manmade part to replace your limb, may occur when your wound is mostly healed and the surrounding area is no longer tender to the touch.
Your recovery and ability to function after the amputation depend on many things. Some of these are the reason for the amputation, whether you have diabetes or poor blood flow, and your age. Most people can still be active following amputation.
Brodksy JW, Saltzman CL. Amputations of the foot and ankle. In: Coughlin MJ, Saltzman CL, Anderson RB, eds. Mann's Surgery of the Foot and Ankle. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 28.
Gittler M. Lower limb amputations. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 119.
Toy PC. General principles of amputations. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 14.
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.