Updated 02/2019 | Download PDF
Currently, about 1.9 million people are living with limb loss in the United States. People lose their limbs for many reasons. Of the 1.9 million, 54 percent lost their limb(s) due to complications related to vascular disease (including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease), 45 percent lost their limb(s) due to a traumatic accident, and less than 2 percent had an amputation due to cancer. Non-whites make up about 42 percent of the limb loss population in the United States. The number of people living with limb loss in the country is expected to double by 2050 due to growing rates of diabetes and vascular disease. (1)
Each year, an estimated 185,000 amputations are performed in the United States. (2) The leading causes of amputation in adults are vascular disease (including complications related to diabetes and peripheral arterial disease), trauma and cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009 there were 68,000 amputations due to complications from diabetes (3).
A total of 5,261 amputations were performed in North Carolina hospitals in 2012. This fact sheet discusses the trends and most current incidence of amputation in North Carolina.
1. AMPUTATION TRENDS OVER TIME
According to hospital discharge data, the number of total amputations performed in North Carolina each year increased by 4.91%
from 2000-2014. A total of 72,853 of these procedures occurred in this time period. The numbers reached their lowest (4,642) in 2009, and the number of amputations was highest (5,905) in2014. (See Graph 1.1)
The number of upper-extremity amputations performed each year from 2000 to 2014 totaled 4,606. The lowest incidence of these amputations (270) occurred in 2011, while 2006 saw the most upper-extremity amputations (374). A 3.56% increase in upper-extremity amputations can be observed from 2000 to 2014. (See Graph 1.2)
The number of lower-extremity amputations performed each year ultimately increased by 8.07% from 2000 to 2014. A total of 73,710 of these procedures occurred in this time period. The highest incidence (5,585) occurred in 2014, and the lowest incidence (4,320) occurred in 2009. (See Graph 1.3)
2. TYPES OF AMPUTATION PERFORMED
293 upper-extremity amputations were performed in 2014. The most common minor upper-extremity amputation was of the fingers (234) and the most common major upper-extremity procedures were below the elbow (16). (See Graph 2.1)
5,569 lower-extremity amputations were performed in 2014. In terms of minor lower-extremity amputations, toes (2,238) were amputated more often than part of the foot (680). For major lower-extremity amputations, below-knee (1,416) amputation was the most common procedure, closely followed by above knee amputation (1,150). (See Graph 2.2)
3. WHO LOSES A LIMB?
In 2014, most amputations were performed on individuals aged 45-64 years old, followed by the age group of 65-84 year olds (See Graph 3.1).
There were nearly 2 times more amputations performed on male patients in North Carolina than on female patients (See Graph 3.2).
Medicare recipients ranked as the most common group to have an amputation procedure (See Graph 3.3).
The African American population of Michigan bears the heaviest burden of amputation (0.0011% of the African American population underwent amputations). This is evident when compared with the percentage of the white population that underwent amputations (0.00035%), with the Hispanic population that underwent amputations (.0002%), and with amputations in the state’s population as a whole (0.00062%). (See Graph 3.4)
* According to Census Bureau estimation data (http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF) the population of North Carolina in 2014 was about 9,535,483 and was made up of about 9,329,284 white residents, 2,048,628 African American residents, and 800,120 Hispanic residents.
4. AMPUTATION COSTS
Diabetes is a leading cause of lower- extremity amputations (5).
The prevalence of diabetes in the adult population of North Carolina increased 283.80% from 1994 to
2014. (See Graph 4.1)
The annual rate of existing cases of diabetes among adults in North Carolina increased 117.77% from 1994
to 2014. (See Graph 4.2)
5. HEALTHCARE COSTS
For persons with a unilateral lower-extremity amputation, the two year healthcare costs, including initial hospitalization, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient physical therapy, and purchase and maintenance of a prosthetic device, is estimated to be $91,106. The lifetime healthcare cost for persons with a unilateral lower extremity amputation is estimated to be more than $500,000 (6). It is anticipated that these healthcare costs would be higher for a person with a proximal amputation level and bilateral amputation status, due to higher prosthetic costs.
Charges represent what the hospital billed for the case, and may not represent all discharges for amputations. (See graph 5.1)
- Ziegler-Graham K, MacKenzie EJ, Ephraim PL, Travison TG, Brookmeyer R. Estimating the Prevalence of Limb Loss in the United States: 2005 to 2050. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation2008;89(3):422-9.
- Coalition LLTFA. Recommendations from the 2012 Limb Loss Task Force: Roadmap for Preventing Limb Loss in America. [White Paper]. 2012 February 9-12.
- Bryant PR, Pandian G. Acquired limb deficiencies. 1. Acquired limb deficiencies in children and young adults. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation2001;82(3B):00s3-s8.
- Li Y, Burrows NR, Gregg EW, Albright A, Geiss LS. Declining Rates of Hospitalization for Nontraumatic Lower-Extremity Amputation in the Diabetic Population Aged 40 Years or Older: U.S., 1988-2008. Diabetes Care2012;35(2):273-7.
- Ventkataraman PKM. Impact of patient counseling on diabetic foot ulcer patients. Indo American Journal of Pharmaceutical Research2012;2(10):1213-9.
- MacKenzie EJ. Health-Care Costs Associated with Amputation or Reconstruction of a Limb-Threatening Injury. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (American)2007;89(8):1685.
It is not the intention of the Amputee Coalition to provide specific medical or legal advice but rather to provide consumers with information to better understand their health and healthcare issues. The Amputee Coalition does not endorse any specific treatment, technology, company, service or device. Consumers are urged to consult with their healthcare providers for specific medical advice or before making any purchasing decisions involving their care.
National Limb Loss Resource Center, a program of the Amputee Coalition, located at 900 East Hill Ave., Suite 390, Knoxville, TN 37915 | 888/267-5669
© Amputee Coalition. Local reproduction for use by Amputee Coalition constituents is permitted as long as this copyright information is included. Organizations or individuals wishing to reprint this article in other publications, including other World Wide Web sites must contact the Amputee Coalition for permission to do so.