Amputation, of any type, can lead to life long complications as the site where the amputation took place. For transtibial amputees, there is a marked risk for complications at the surgical site and a risk for developing conditions such as Stump Edema syndrome. If you are caring for a transtibial amputee, it is important to become familiar with all of the health risks including the risk for developing this type of complex syndrome.
A transtibial amputation is one that occurs in a lower limb and is categorized as below the knee. This means, the amputation has allowed for the knee to remain in place, but has resulted in loss of the lower extremity below the knee. For amputees with this type of lower leg amputation, one of the most common complications that exist is the developing of lesions at the surgical site. To negate the risk, socks and weight absorbing devices are commonly recommended with the prosthesis.
But, over time, in some transtibial amputees, there is a risk for developing more complex health complications. Typically, these complications develop due to lack of proper hygiene, care, and maintenance of the site where the amputation took place. Beyond lesions and general deterioration of the skin, amputees will experience bruising and even swelling. This bruising, when not well cared for, can become involved in a complication of hemorrhaging at which point a complication known as Stump Edema syndrome will develop.
Stump Edema syndrome is a chronic health complication that simply means an amputee is experiencing recurring, and chronic, complications with the stump site. With Stump Edema syndrome, the greatest risk comes by way of a potential blood clot or internal bleeding at the stump surgical site. With amputees who have Stump Edema syndrome, the use of prosthesis may be difficult at times and often, recurring surgeries to remove necrotizing skin is also necessary.
To negate the risk for developing complications at an amputation site, it is important to follow all physical and rehab recommendations regarding hygiene and use of the prosthesis. Whenever complications arise, seek out medical attention immediately and consider options for alleviating swelling and skin deterioration early when the complications begin. In doing so, your loved one will have a far better outcome when living as a transtibial amputee.
Sources: 2009 Empowers Patient’s Complete Reference to Amputees and Prostheses, by PM Medical Health News