Post-Operative Problems After Amputation


The development of edema is a problem that is frequently underestimated in the post-operative fitting of the prosthesis.  This develops on account of the fact that lymph liquid, which was previously carried out via the healthy lymph system, now collects in tissue openings. An edema is normally an unavoidable reaction to an operative, traumatic event and usually recedes after about a week. There are however post-operative cases where longer, non-receding edemas develop that lead to delays in the next stage of the prosthetic fitting.

A problem- free healing of the wound in the post-operative phase requires measures that prevent the continuation of edema or at least limit it. This includes not only systematic medical monitoring of the healing process after the operation, but also the correct handling of the residual limb.

The lymph liquid, for example, will drain well if the residual limb is elevated above the height of the heart. Additionally, specially trained therapists should drain off the lymph liquid daily in the post-operative phase. To determine the success of the treatment process and to increase motivation, residual limb measurements should be continuously taken and the results written down on measurement forms. Physicians, physiotherapists and ergotherapists receive recommendations on a traumatic treatment methods suited for edematous tissue.

Aggressive, manual stretching of the tissue on the residual limb should be avoided under all circumstances in edema therapy. This can lead to microtraumas that can in turn cause edema. Adequate pain therapy is also important to prevent the patient from thinking that a prosthetic fitting will not be possible for fear of more pain.