Amputee Coalition / National Limb Loss Information Center Fact Sheet
|by NLLIC Staff (Revised 2009)|
After your surgery, attention will be focused on care of the wound and maintenance of the residual limb.
Any wound from amputation or other surgery is at risk of becoming infected because the skin opening can allow germs or dirt to enter the bloodstream. Infections can cause tenderness or pain, fever, redness, swelling and/or discharge. These infections can lead to further complications or surgery or even death if not treated properly.
While you are in the hospital, it is mainly the responsibility of the healthcare workers to care for your wound. Even so, the more you know about what is happening, the better you’ll be prepared to take care of yourself once you leave the hospital.
You will always need to pay special attention to the hygiene of your residual limb (not only just after the surgery), because it will be enclosed in the socket or liner of your prosthesis and so will be more prone to skin breakdown and infections.
If you suspect you are getting an infection, do something! Act quickly, before a small irritation becomes a serious problem.
Remember: The best way to handle an infection is to prevent it by following these guidelines:
The following complications may occur even if you take the above precautions:
Bacterial infections (infected hair follicle, stitch abscess, infected pressure area, etc.) will have the following signs, ranked in order of severity, and should be treated by your physician:
Any of the following signs of infection require emergency attention to prevent it from spreading to your entire body and jeopardizing your life:
If you are taking antibiotics, always finish the prescription even if the infection seems to have cleared up. Follow your physician’s instructions carefully and maintain good hygiene for the following conditions: