In the hospital
After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery room. Your recovery will vary depending on the type of procedure done and anesthesia used. The blood flow and feeling of the affected extremity will be checked. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you will be taken to your hospital room.
You will get pain medicines and antibiotics as needed. The dressing will be changed and watched closely.
You will start physical therapy soon after your surgery. Rehabilitation is designed for your specific needs. It may include gentle stretching, special exercises, and help getting in and out of bed or a wheelchair. If you had a leg amputation, you will learn how to bear weight on your remaining limb.
There are specialists who make and fit prosthetic devices. They will visit you soon after surgery and will instruct you how to use the prosthesis. You may begin to practice with your artificial limb as early as 10 to 14 days after your surgery, depending on your comfort and wound healing process.
After amputation, you will stay in the hospital for several days. You will get instructions as to how to change your dressing. You will be discharged home when the healing process is going well and you are able to take care of yourself with assistance.
After surgery, you may have emotional concerns. You may have grief over the lost limb or a physical condition known as phantom pain. This is pain or other feeling in your amputated limb. If this is the case, you may receive medicines or other types of nonsurgical treatments.
Once you are home, it is important to follow the instructions given to you by your surgeon. You will have detailed instructions on how to care for the surgical site, dressing changes, bathing, activity level, and physical therapy.
Take a pain reliever for soreness as advised by your surgeon. Aspirin or some other pain medicines may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only approved medicines.
Tell your surgeon if you have any of these:
Fever or chills
Redness, swelling, or bleeding or other fluid leaking from the incision site
Increased pain around the amputation site
Numbness or tingling in the remaining arm or leg
You may resume your normal diet unless your surgeon tells you differently. Your surgeon may give you other instructions.
There have been many advances over the past several years in the surgery, rehabilitation, and prosthetic design. Proper healing and fitting of the artificial limb help to reduce the risk of long-term complications. An amputation requires adapting many parts of your life. Physical therapy can help.
If the amputation was the result of PAD, continued steps will need to be taken to prevent the condition so that it does not affect other parts of your body.
You may be advised to make lifestyle changes to help stop the progression of PAD. This includes:
Maintain a healthy diet that does not exceed your daily calorie requirement and that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Work towards getting or keeping an ideal body weight.
Maintain a regular exercise program.