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What causes amputation?

A limb may be amputated for a variety of reasons, such as to remove a tumor or to remove tissue damaged in a serious injury. The most common cause of amputation, though, is peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. PAD is usually caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or diabetes. If you have PAD, your blood vessels can't supply enough blood and oxygen to the cells and tissues in your limbs. This can cause them to die and become highly susceptible to infection. The doctor will try to increase the blood supply, but if that proves impossible, amputation may become necessary.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.