Above-the-knee amputation, or AKA for short, implicates the surgical removal of the leg from or above the knee. Typically done by cutting through the thigh tissue and femoral bone completely. An above-the-knee amputation includes removing the leg from any point above the knee.
It’s a major surgical procedure with far-reaching implications for your physiologic and psychological health.
The more you educate yourself about the after-care, above-the-knee prosthetics options available to you after AKA, the better you can make decisions about your health and well-being.
Causes for Above The Knee Amputation
Above-the-knee amputation is considered major surgery. The procedure is only carried out in the absence or failure of other options to salvage the limb. Most often, the surgery is done in emergencies to save the patient’s life when prospects of recovery of the leg are null. There can be many reasons for an above-the-knee-amputation surgery, such as
You may or may not have gotten a chance to prepare mentally before the surgery as it’s often carried out in emergencies as a life-saving measure. While the psychological implications of losing a limb are certainly deep, it helps to remember that you are not without control.
Your Surgical Site
Depending on the severity of the disease or trauma, the incision site will have sutures or staples. These will be removed after a month or six weeks, again, depending on how well the incision heals. The surgical site will feel raised or thickened, that’s quite normal. Immediately after surgery, your leg might be elevated to help decrease swelling.
Phantom pain, swelling, tightness, and pain are common after all kinds of amputation surgeries.
Depending on how your healing goes and how well you respond to medication, your stay can last anywhere between 1 to 2 weeks. During this time IV medication will be administered for pain management and to mitigate the risk of clots forming.
Once the first 24 hours pass post-surgery, your doctor may suggest bringing the leg down. Gently rolling over to lie face-down is also commonly prescribed to avoid tightening at the hip.
Incision Care Tips
Taking good care of yourself post-surgery is one of the main things you can do to be out and about as soon as possible. Good self-care practices after the procedure increase above the knee prosthetic options available to you.
While post-op is definitely one of the most trying times you can go through, there are things that can help increase your comfort levels and manage pain better. Here are some post-surgical tips for above-the-knee amputees:
Using your compression stocking as prescribed by your medical care providers is one of the most important things you can do for your healing. That’ll help gently mold your leg into the optimal shape suitable for use of above the knee prosthetics.
It will also control swelling at the incision site. Typically, fitting for the compression stocking will be done before you leave the hospital post-op. You can start using the sock after 48 hours of the surgery once you clear it with your doctor.
Getting Fitted for Above The Knee Prosthetics
The process of adjusting to life without your limb will start the moment you open your eyes post-op. While it's definitely a difficult adjustment, it helps to remember that you have great options available for above the knee prosthetics.
The first piece of equipment you will use to help you maintain mobility after surgery is the Immediate Post-Operative Prosthesis (IPOP). Use this to start getting around as much as your doctor recommends. The IPOP also helps you heal by
Here is a breakdown of getting fitted for your above the knee prosthetic:
The first step will be getting a custom-made liner that’ll keep your limb securely cushioned. That’ll help attach your above the knee prosthetic to your limb and keep you comfortable while using your prosthesis.
The next step is getting your limb cast to help find the closest fit for your unique needs and limb shape. Once the cast is done, you’ll try on a few diagnostic socks to ensure optimal alignment between your limb and prosthesis. Once you finalize the socket that fits the best and feels comfortable, posture and gait training can be started.
The final step will be to weigh your options and make a final choice about which above the knee prosthetic will best suit your activity level and lifestyle. You’ll get plenty of help during this stage to make a well-informed decision. Contact Align Clinic now and we would be happy to guide you through any questions you may have.
Start Your Journey To Recovery Today
Amputation is difficult, and it’s crucial to go easy with yourself and take your healing one day at a time. Our professionals at Align Clinic know just how difficult this phase can be. Book an appointment with our representative today to discover all options available to you.
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