An amputation is the removal of an extremity or appendage from the body. Amputations in the upper extremity can occur as a result of trauma, or they can be performed in the treatment of congenital or acquired conditions. Although successful replantation represents a technical triumph to the surgeon, the patient's best interests should direct the treatment of amputations.
The goals involved in the treatment of amputations of the upper extremity include the following :
Preservation of functional length
Preservation of useful sensibility
Prevention of symptomatic neuromas
Prevention of adjacent joint contractures
Early return to work
Early prosthetic fitting
These goals apply differently to different levels of amputation.
Treatment of amputations can be challenging and rewarding. It is imperative that the surgeon treat the patient with the ultimate goal of optimizing function and rehabilitation and not become absorbed in the enthusiasm of the technical challenge of the replantation, which could result in poorer outcome and greater financial cost due to lost wages, hospitalization, and therapy.