Preparing for an amputation

It’s not always possible to do limb-sparing surgery, and occasionally the surgeon will need to remove (amputate) the limb. This may be because the cancer has spread from the bone into the surrounding blood vessels. You may also need an amputation after limb-sparing surgery if there’s an infection in the bone that persists despite treatment, or if the cancer comes back in the bone. Very occasionally, after discussion with their specialist doctor and family, people choose to have an amputation instead of limb-sparing surgery.

The preparation for amputation is similar to the preparation for limb-sparing surgery.

You may find it helpful to talk to the rehabilitation team before you come in for surgery. They will answer any questions or concerns about how you will manage after the operation. Psychological support for people who are about to have an amputation is also important. Some hospitals and prosthetic rehabilitation units have a counsellor you can talk to about your feelings and any worries you may have before the operation. It may also help to talk to someone who has had the same operation and can give you practical advice as well as support. The nursing and therapy staff may be able to arrange this for you.

Back to Amputation

Recovering after an amputation

After surgery, you will be cared for in hospital. Later, you may have an artificial limb fitted. A physiotherapist will show you how to use it.