What Should I Expect After An Amputation?
We can only imagine how you’re feeling right now. You’re feeling anxious, nervous, and a little concerned about how you’ll tackle daily tasks again with your residual limb and your prosthetics. We want to make this process easier for you by giving you a run-down on what you should expect post-surgery.
5 Basic Stages After Amputation Surgery:
Recovering at the Hospital
Depending on age, health, and diagnosis, you should expect to spend 3-7 days at the hospital post-surgery. During this recovery process, you will have professionals watching over you and guiding you. They’ll show you how to take care of your wound as it heals, teach you proper exercises to upkeep your health and strength, even helping you adjust to everyday tasks such as walking (with the help of a walking aid).
Recovering at Home
During this phase in your post-surgery journey, hospital professionals will encourage you to continue to care for your wound as it fully heals. Proper care techniques you should expect are: daily cleaning of the wound, ensure your residual limb is straight (as often as you can), and continual exercising as per what was taught to you during your stay at the hospital. Because this will be your first time adjusting to your residual limb at home, it is ideal to stay on top of your appointments so professionals can assist if assistance is needed.
Once your wound has healed, this is ideally when your prosthetic fitting will take place. Roughly three weeks after your first fitting with your prosthetist, you should receive a preparatory (or temporary) prosthesis. During this time you will be expected to continue caring for your residual limb while using a shrinker sock. It is important to massage your scar and exercise with stretch and strength techniques taught to you by hospital professionals.
Learning How to Use your Prosthetics
When your residual limb reaches a stable size, two things may take place: 1) you will receive a definitive prosthesis or 2) your preparatory prosthesis will become your definitive prosthesis. When you get to this stage you will learn how to properly use your prosthetics. Here are a few examples of skills you will pick up: taking it off and on, adjusting your sock thickness, walking with or without a walking aid, and how to care and clean for your prosthetics.
Returning to Your Regular Routine
After some time and when you are ready to, you can return to your daily routine. Naturally, the routine will differ from what it once was based on your needs now but you will be equipped with the right knowledge and experience to properly handle any challenges that may occur. Returning back to your routine is a big step but it will be very rewarding. To make the return smoother, ensure your health is your priority, surround yourself with a great support system, get back to doing regular things such as work, hobbies, and social events, and make sure to upkeep the care for your prosthesis. You got this!