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Amputations: Life-altering changes to the body

Amputations are serious, and they can impact your life in many ways. From losing the ability to use a limb to the physical pain and trauma of the amputation, there are many factors that impact your future quality of life.

Amputation, or the surgical removal of part of or all of a limb, is a medical procedure usually saved only for emergencies. Although that's the case, around 1.8 million people in America live with them. The most common amputation is above or below the knee, which means that those with this amputation may need assistance walking with a prosthesis or by other means.

Amputations require long hospital stays. Most people stay in the hospital for at least five days, with others staying in the hospital 14 days or longer for particularly complicated amputations. Anesthesia is used before an amputation, but not all patients are asleep. Some receive general anesthesia, while others receive anesthesia to block pain in the spine. The goal is for the patient to feel no pain and to retain as much healthy tissue as possible. If the damaged tissues aren't all removed, further surgeries could be necessary to remove it. During the amputation, the surgeon will shape the muscles to make sure they are in a position to be used with an artificial limb in the future.

Since amputations require long hospital stays and may require artificial limbs in the future, these are extremely expensive surgeries. If you need one as a result of another person's negligence, that person should be held accountable and made to pay for the care you need.

Source: WebMD, "Amputation Overview," accessed Aug. 23, 2017

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