FAQ: Post Amputation Surgery
Today we’re going to answer our top three most asked questions about post amputation surgery. If you’re looking for an overall outline on what you should expect post-surgery, check out this blog article written by our friend’s over at Niagara Prosthetics and Orthotics.
“What’s the best way to care for my residual limb?”
It is important to care for any wound, whether the wound be from amputation or from another procedure. With any wound you are at risk of germs and dirt entering your bloodstream, potentially leading to an acute or serious infection. The easiest way to ensure your residual limb is not infected is to keep an eye on it; set aside 5 minutes of your day to examine your residual limb using a long handled mirror.
The most basic step to take in caring for your residual limb is maintaining its hygiene. In most cases, hospital professionals will teach you exactly how to care for your wound and residual limb during your stay at the hospital after surgery (since there may be various ways to care for it depending on diagnosis). To ensure you’re maintaining its cleanliness, it is best to stick to what the professionals taught you. However, if further cleaning needs to take place, here is a brief guideline on how you can care for your wound for extra cleanliness:
- Wash your residual limb using mild soap and water
- Rinse carefully to ensure all soap is removed
- Pat it dry
- Make sure to wash anything that directly touches your residual limb (ie. socks, liners, etc.).
- Make sure your residual limb is completely dry before putting on your prosthesis
If you are experiencing any sort of pain, irritation or see any signs of infection (blistering, patchiness, etc.), we advise you to reach out to a professional. We want to emphasize how dangerous an infection can be, especially with a wound of that size. It is important to contact a professional sooner than later to ensure you heading in the right direction towards recovery.
“When Should I Change My Prosthetic Socks?”
It is ideal to wash prosthetic socks and liners daily. Not only does washing keep them fresh but it also helps in restoring their shape and brings back their softness, ultimately benefiting you through comfort and longevity. Just like regular socks, it is best to have a few pairs available so that a clean pair can be worn each time without washing too frequently.
You should change socks daily or as soon as they become damp from sweat. Naturally, your residual limb size may change throughout the day and a change of sock and thickness of sock may be needed. If your sock is not directly touching your skin and it is worn between your liner and socket, changing your sock may not need to take place as often. For further information regarding proper sock ply, it is best practice to speak with a professional.
“What is Phantom Pain?”
Phantom pain is the feeling that the missing limb still exists. Despite what it’s called, Phantom Pain isn’t actually painful but can be described as a sensation instead, typically feeling like a tingle, itch, or slight burn. The main causes of Phantom Pain can be due to anything from nerve circuitry changes to blood clotting. Other reasons for experiencing Phantom Pain can be due to weather changes, pressure on residual limb, stress, and fatigue. For a healthy solution, we highly suggest contacting a professional if you are experiencing Phantom Pain or similar symptoms.