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Amputation Prevention

The thought of amputation is scary. When the risk of losing a limb becomes your reality, you deserve a personal compressive approach to prevent amputation and return mobility. The experts at Kettering Health Network are dedicated to preserving limbs and preventing amputations in at risk patients.

Kettering Health Network understands that a comprehensive approach is vital in saving limbs. Our multidisciplinary team includes an infectious disease specialist, podiatrist, vascular surgeon, and wound specialist. This team approach coordinates care and develops an individualized plan for each patient within one week of their admission.

There are a number of disease and factors that can put a person at risk for amputation:

Peripheral Vascular Disease
When a person suffers from peripheral vascular disease, which is the narrowing of arteries, it may lead to blockage. When the arteries are blocked and cannot bring enough blood to legs and feet, there are not enough nutrients and oxygen needed for healing. This condition paired with a wound, causes critical limb ischemia. This is the point when a patient is in the most danger of losing a limb.

Peripheral Neuropathy
When a person has peripheral neuropathy, their nerves are damaged or diseased. This leads to a loss of sensation in the arms and legs. Often sores and injuries go unnoticed and untreated, preventing proper healing. Neuropathy is often a condition found in diabetics.

People with diabetes have an increased risk for complications from wound healing for two main reasons. First, diabetes decreases blood flow. This means sores and injuries are slower to heal in people with diabetes. Second, a lot of diabetics have neuropathy, which decreases the feeling in their outer limbs. Therefore, diabetics may not notice an injury right away. Because of these two factors, diabetic foot sores are a common issue that often leads to a bigger problem.

Smoking increasing the risk of complication from wound healing. Nicotine found in cigarettes, reduces the blood flow to the skin. The smaller vessels have a harder time carrying the proper healing factors to the wound, which causes wound healing to take longer. Also, the carbon monoxide from smoking lowers the oxygen levels that wounds need to heal, resulting in longer healing times.

When a patent enters one of our facilities at risk for amputation, within seven days they will have a personalized plan that includes an infectious disease specialist, wound specialist, vascular surgeon, and podiatrist. Each expert works together to address specific areas of the problem, prevent amputation, and restore mobility:

Infectious Disease Specialist
  • diagnose and monitor infection
  • stop the spread of the infection through proper antibiotic therapy
  • clean the infected limb through surgical removal (debridement) of dead tissue
  • ensure the structural function of foot through offloading or reconstruction
Wound Specialist
  • ensure the wound bed is clean through healing techniques such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Vascular surgeon
  • restore the flow of arteries and veins through stent or open leg bypass