Amputees Information

Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for such problems. A special case is the congenital amputation, a congenital disorder, where foetal limbs have been cut off by constrictive bands. In some countries, amputation of the hands or feet is or was used as a form of punishment for people who committed crimes. Amputation has also been used as a tactic in war and acts of terrorism. In some cultures and religions, minor amputations or mutilations are considered a ritual accomplishment. Unlike some non-mammalian animals , once removed, human extremities do not grow back. A transplant or a prosthesis are the only options for recovering the loss.

In many developed countries, diabetes is the major cause of amputation. In the US, the risk of losing a foot or leg is 15-40X higher for diabetics. And 80,000 lower limb amputations are performed in the US according to International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes leads to poor circulation which in turn leads to infection and gangrene. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been found to be an effective way of revascularizing poor performing circulation, killing the anaerobic bacteria in diabetic ulcers and preventing amputation.

The word amputation is derived from the Latin amputare, "to cut away", from ambi- and putare . The Latin word has never been recorded in a surgical context, being reserved to indicate punishment for criminals. The English word "amputation" was first applied to surgery in the 17th century, possibly first in Peter Lowe's A discourse of the Whole Art of Chirurgerie ; his work was derived from 16th century French texts and early English writers also used the words "extirpation" , "disarticulation," and "dismemberment" , or simply "cutting", but by the end of the 17th century "amputation" had come to dominate as the accepted medical term.

Wikipedia, Amputees, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amputees (as of Apr 10, 2010)

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