Articles Tagged with amputation

phantomThere is often residual pain after surgical amputation.  Some of the most common reasons for an amputation are: trauma, such as vehicle accidents or combat injuries, and complications from diabetes or vascular disease.  In most cases involving non-amputation surgery, patients have some post-surgical pain which is a normal part of the healing process.  The pain usually lessens as tissues repair themselves.  In cases of surgical amputation, however, the decrease of pain may not be the case.  Certainly there is the typical reduction in acute post-surgical pain, but amputees often continue to experience lingering sensations.  Those sensations may be painful, but they aren’t always.  Some patients simply describe the sensations as annoying and strange.

There are different types of sensations reported by amputees.  Each may be treated in a different manner.  It is important for a patient to describe the sensations to his or her doctor in order to get the most beneficial medication or therapy.

craneSomething about crane accidents capture the imagination and horror of many.  When a tragic crane accident occurs, it is often front page news, perhaps because it results in dramatic images of property damage, sometimes way up in a city’s skyline.  But the severe injuries and deaths that can occur in such a situation make an accident involving a crane something not to be ogled, but avoided at all costs.  Construction workers account for a disproportionate percentage of work-related fatalities yearly and are substantially more likely to receive serious injuries when compared to employees in other industries.

After a series of crane accidents making the news, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a program aimed at reducing significant injuries and deaths related to the operation of cranes in general industry, construction and maritime operations in the Pacific Northwest.  And to improve compliance with its program, OSHA conducted compliance inspections, training, consultations on-site, and outreach programs.  They also formed partnerships and alliances to help improve crane safety.

A new surgical technique developed by the University of Vienna is giving hope to individuals who have suffered serious brachial plexus injuries.

Nerves in the brachial plexus start in the neck and then out into the  shoulders, arms and hands.

People who have sustained catastrophic injuries (and their families) are often in need of very specific, specialized information regarding the injury suffered, the latest care and support options, research into new treatment options, and the psychological and emotional support that can come from connecting with other people who have suffered similar losses.  For some of the categories of catastrophic injuries, the following resources may be helpful:

resources for catastrophic injuriesBurn Injury Resources

Among children, 60 percent of amputations are congenital in nature and 40 percent are acquired due to an injury. Most of these patients require some kind of prosthetic device more so than children who’ve sustained congenital amputations. These acquired amputee children attend specialized child amputee clinics. Acquired amputees are due to trauma most of the time but in a few cases, the limb loss was secondary to disease. The worst offenders are power tools and heavy machinery, followed by automobile accidents, explosions, gunshot wounds and railroad accidents. In the 1-4 age groups, the most common causes of amputation are lawnmowers and household accidents.

Of diseases causing amputation, the most common cause is malignancies, vascular malformations and neurogenic disorders. More than 90 percent of the time, acquired amputations involve just one extremity. In over 60 percent of the cases, the lower limb is the limb affected. Males have more amputations than females at a ratio of 3:2. This is because males tend to engage in activities that are more hazardous than females.

Approximately 300,000 injuries involving doors need treatment at an emergency room each year in the U.S. Most of the victims are children of preschool age and under, and most injuries from doors result in some kind of amputation. These door-related injuries are completely preventable and there are some inexpensive devices that could be put on doors to prevent these amputation injuries. There are door closing devices that prevent a door from slamming and prevent injuries from the open side of the door. Most serious injuries, however, result from the door’s the hinge side, where the closing pressure from the door can exceed 80,000 pounds per square inch.

Some companies have created hinge protectors that eliminate the possibility of hinge accidents. A casing made of plastic is placed around the sides of the door that blocks contact with the hinge face. There are door stoppers that can also help prevent unexpected door closures. You can also paint or tape near the hinge and door knob side of the door to remind kids to stay away from that part of the wall.

Water sports are becoming more popular around the world. People are spending more time racing boats, water skiing, scuba diving and skin diving. Injuries because of boat propellers are also becoming more frequent. One study looked at the ten year period from 1963-1973 and studied nine cases of injury by boat propeller. Some resulted in an amputation as a result of the propeller itself. Others needed surgical amputation due to mangled extremities.

Injuries on boats are not simply a national occurrence. The below examples are listed not for shock value but to illustrate the need to use caution when on or near boats. These were recent news items from 2012 and 2013 illustrating the mechanism of injury due to water sports and/or while on a watercraft.

Microsurgery is one of the latest types of surgery to develop. It involves doing surgery to blood vessels and nerves underneath a microscope. It is the type of surgery that makes doing replantation of amputated body parts possible. Vessels and nerves of around one millimeter in diameter have been reattached successfully. Microsurgery is used in trauma surgery as well as in plastic surgery, general surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, pediatric surgery, maxillofacial surgery, and otolaryngology.

Microsurgery was first used by otolaryngologists in about 1921. The first monocular surgical microscope was built and was eventually used in people who had fistulae. Binocular microscopes were then used starting in 1922. Other ear operations were done using a binocular microscope soon after.

Children have a higher likelihood of being injured or killed from trains than adults. They like to play on train tracks and have a lesser ability to detect the speed of a train coming towards them. Their bodies are more frail than adult bodies and the forces on the bodies from the train are great.

One study looked at the pattern of sustained injuries in kids who are injured in train tracks and train accidents. It was a retrospective review of those patients who showed up on two different trauma registries for the years 1984 through 1994. The patients attended a level I trauma center in a single metropolitan area. A total of 17 patients were treated for injuries at the level I trauma center. Those who were injured in a car that was struck by a train and those that were pronounced deceased at the scene were excluded from the study.

Fingertip accidents are commonplace amputations at home or on the job. Fingertips can slam in doors, in car doors, while chopping food or when clearing out a lawnmower or snowblower. These types of injuries can involve crushing of the fingertip, tearing of the fingertip or cutting off of the fingertip, including the thumb. The nailbed, soft tissue and bone (phalanx) can be involved in the injury. The tips of the fingers are injured more commonly than the rest of the finger because they are the least likely to escape harm’s way.

These types of amputations are very painful because there are a lot of nerves in the area. They also tend to bleed quite a lot due to a rich blood supply. When an amputation happens, you should elevate the stump and cover the wound with a sterile dry dressing. Apply pressure if needed. If there is a part of the finger that is cut off, it should be wrapped in a moist sterile gauze and placed in a baggie. You should then place the baggie in some ice water. Don’t put the amputated part directly on ice and do not use dry ice to keep the amputated part cold.