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When is an amputation considered the only treatment option?

There are generally two groups of people who end up with amputations. In the first group are those who have been injured severely and the blood vessels to their leg or their arm have been severed, or the limb itself has unfortunately been detached from the body. In some cases, it's appropriate to reattach the limb, and in some cases it is not. It's a very difficult decision that's based on experience as well as the criteria on what can be saved and what can't.

The second group is people who have a limb that hasn't healed, a bone that hasn't healed or have had a chronic infection for some time. Then there's always the question: Is the person better off going through the many steps that it's going to take to save this limb or is the person better off having an amputation? This is a very individualized decision. It depends so much on what the person has gone through and the actual condition of the limb, as well as the experience, insight and technical skills of the surgeon and the surgical team.

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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.