Traumatic amputation is the loss of a body part -- usually a finger, toe, arm, or leg -- that occurs as the result of an accident or injury.
If an accident or trauma results in complete amputation (the body part is totally severed), the part sometimes can be reattached, especially when proper care is taken of the severed part and stump.
In a partial amputation, some soft-tissue connection remains. Depending on how severe the injury is, the partially severed extremity may or may not be able to be reattached.
Traumatic amputations usually result from factory, farm, power tool accidents, or from motor vehicle accidents. Natural disasters, war, and terrorist attacks can also cause traumatic amputations.
Long-term outcome for an amputee depends on early emergency and critical care management. A well-fitting and functional prosthesis can speed rehabilitation.
If someone severs a limb, finger, toe, or other body part, you should call right away for emergency medical help.
Use safety equipment when using factory, farm, or power tools. Wear seat belts when driving a motor vehicle. Always use good judgment and observe appropriate safety precautions.
Loss of a body part
Gross KR, Collier BR, Riordan WP Jr, Morris JA Jr. Wilderness trauma and surgical emergencies. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2011:chap 21.
Moorell D. Management of amputations. In: Roberts JR, Hedges JR, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 47.
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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