Effects of Amputations

Limbs and smaller body extremities, such as the fingers, hand, toes and feet, are crucial in the facilitation of movement and mobility.

A person’s ability to carry out every day activities may diminish due to a reduced capability of movement, compromising an injured person’s independence.

Moreover, an amputation can be emotionally traumatic for a person to experience and their family may also struggle to come to terms with it, leading to psychological and emotional problems.

The experience of amputation claims among our panel of expert solicitors ensures that they are the ideal legal representation to pursue a claim for compensations on your behalf. The help they can provide through obtaining compensation for you will go some way to relieving the burden on you so that you can plan ahead for the future while concentrating on your recovery. Without this vital help, an amputation can have devastating effects on all aspects of a person’s life as well as the lives of those closest to them.

The effects of amputations, and the severity of those effects, can vary among people depending on their injuries, the way they sustained their injuries, their support system and their existing resilience or mental toughness.

Physical Effects

Infection

The risk of infection applies to almost all surgical procedures but an amputation has a higher risk during surgery as it is classed as a ‘major’ surgical procedure due to the size of the incision that normally has to be made which could lead to infection if the operating theatre is not up to the required hygiene standards.

In addition, after the surgery a stump is often used for support so the potential for damage and exposing the wound soon after operations can be high.

Infections to amputation sites can lead to further extensive treatment and operations or even a more comprehensive amputation than the first.

Impaired Movement

Amputation of the arms affects balance because the upper-body will have a different weight distribution to before the amputation, so walking and general manoeuvring can often be difficult for amputees.

Arm amputees who have lost the use of one or both hands or arms will struggle to complete everyday tasks, such as eating, so must learn to adapt to their new situation in order to complete such routine, day-to-day tasks.

Amputation of the legs usually mean that a person is unable to walk without the use of prosthesis or crutches.

Unfortunately, many people cannot or choose not to use prosthesis due to the difficult adaptation period of getting used to them, or because they physically cannot due to their injuries, age or general strength, so may have to keep mobile with the use of a wheelchair.

Stump Pain And Phantom Limb Pain

Stump Pain is a condition that describes pain in the remotest part of the amputated limb due to damaged nerves which send signals to the brain that are interpreted as pain.

Phantom Limb Pain describes a similar condition, where an amputee feels pain in the limb that was amputated. In spite of the fact that the limb is not present, the brain understands signals as pain in that limb. The pain levels suffered by those with Phantom Limb Pain ranges from short periods of discomfort to constant and excruciating pain.

Fatigue

An amputee may experience extreme fatigue, especially in the areas of the body that must make up for the muscle mass lost in the amputation, due to the loss of a body part that formerly played a functional role in the performance of everyday tasks.

Fatigue is a particular problem in lower-limb amputees that use prosthesis to walk or for sport and is also common in upper-limb amputees as, without the full use of both hands and arms, carrying out tasks previously considered simple can be extremely challenging and a lengthy process.

Psychological Effects

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is more likely to be suffered by an amputee who has suffered their injuries in a painful and traumatic incident, especially if they struggle to forget or move on from the horrible memories of a traumatic amputation.

Surgical amputees have also been known to develop PTSD but it is less common in injured people who have gone through this type of amputation as the amputee has time to mentally prepare for their amputation and their amputation is carried out with the benefit of painkillers and anaesthetic.

Those suffering PTSD tend to experience depression, anger, insomnia, nightmares and flashbacks of the traumatic event. Please consult our pages on Serious Psychiatric Injuries for a more extensive look at PTSD.

Isolation

Social activities participated in before an amputation may not be possible to the same extent or at all for an amputee due to the nature of the activity in question and the disabilities they suffer from, such as many sports.

While this may be down to the obvious physical impairments suffered by amputees, it could also be the result of pain or the side-effects from painkillers.

A person unable to participate in the same activities as before their injuries may feel helpless and isolated due to their changed situation and lack of social interaction at the level that they used to have.

Self-image

An amputee may feel self-conscious about how their stump or prosthesis looks due to their physical differences compared to other people. They may harbour a fear of how others will react to their amputation and begin acting in an ashamed manner, thus restricting themselves socially, in employment and in education.