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What Are the Effects of an Amputation Injury?

An amputation injury is one of the most life-changing and devastating experiences a person can have and the effects of it are often varied since no two cases are ever completely alike. However, there are some common overriding features that are present in most forms of amputation injuries, while others are more injury-specific. Some of the factors that must be considered to assess the impact an amputation injury might have on a person include the type of amputation, the condition of the remaining limb, the individual’s age and pre-injury health, any other injuries sustained at the time of the amputation, the psychological effect of it, and whether the individual will be able to use a prosthetic limb.

The Physical Effects

Of course, the immediate effects of an amputation injury are obvious. If a person’s leg is amputated, he or she will be unable to walk without some assistance. That said, this is not the only immediate physical effect a person suffering from an amputation injury will experience. Other physical effects will include:

  • Mobility and dexterity: For lower-limb amputations, the main effect is a reduction in mobility. In fact, many are able to make use of prosthetic limbs after intensive care and rehabilitation. Upper limbs, however, often affect a person’s balance, which can cause the injured person to fall or collide with objects. This is usually not severe enough to warrant the use of a wheelchair, but their mobility will still be affected. Additionally, most basic day-to-day tasks will become difficult or impossible. For example, getting dressed, washing, or even grocery shopping will all suddenly seem like daunting chores, often requiring the person to learn new ways to accomplish them.
  • Stump and phantom limb pain: Amputees sometimes suffer from stump pain, phantom limb pain, or both. Pain in the stump is felt on the remaining portion of the injured limb, which occurs when a group of nerves at the site of the amputation are damaged. Phantom limb pain is more common and is experienced by as much as 80% of all amputee victims. It is the feeling of pain one feels in their missing limb. The use of the word “phantom” does not mean that the pain is not real, but rather that the source of it is occurring in the person’s brain. Every case of phantom limb pain will differ from person to person. Some might experience temporary shock-like stabs or burning sensations while others might feel chronic or unbearable levels of excruciating pain. It is also most often felt by those who are missing an upper limb.
  • Infection: Another common issue for amputees are infections, which can develop if the skin on the stump breaks down and the wounds open. This could even prevent the individual from being able to make use of a prosthetic limb. Infections might also be caused by blood clots caused by issues with blood supply and circulation, or an excess of moisture that built up at the stump. Oftentimes, this means that surgery might be necessary to remove more of the extremity, or the rest of the remaining limb.
  • Muscle contractures:  When there is an imbalance of muscles in a limb, an individual is at risk for a muscle contracture. This is especially true for those who are missing a lower limb since the weight of the stress placed on the remaining lower extremities can have a drastic effect on their anatomy and central nervous system. The contractures they experience are essentially the shortening and tightening of remaining muscle groups in a limb, which can result in the amputee having to remain in a fixed position for an extended period of time. Muscle contractures must be addressed through stretching exercises to prevent potentially devastating complications from occurring.
  • Deep vein thrombosis: This is a deep blood-clotting condition that tends to affect the lower limbs of the body and, as such, those missing a lower limb are prone to developing this condition. When deep vein thrombosis is left untreated, a pulmonary embolism can develop, which occurs when part of the blood clot breaks away from the leg, traveling to the individual’s lungs.

The Emotional Effects

In addition to the physical impact of amputation injuries, there are also some emotional effects, which often depend on how the amputation occurred. Some of these emotional effects include:

  • Traumatic effects: In cases where an individual has experienced a traumatic incident that resulted in the amputation injury, memories of it could result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other types of similar psychological conditions that might lead to flashbacks, nightmares, depression, insomnia, avoidance, outbursts of anger, and other challenging behaviors.
  • Adapting: While some emotional effects might be related to the event that caused the amputation itself, other effects might develop as the amputee tries to live with the new disability and adapt to the difficulties it presents. Oftentimes, an amputee might experience a feeling that is much like grief or bereavement as they cope with this loss.
  • Body image: After suffering an amputation, an individual might begin to feel self-conscious regarding their appearance and become prone to body-image issues. It is not uncommon for amputees to attempt to hide the affected limb from sight, either out of a desire to avoid drawing attention to it or concern for how others might react to seeing it.
  • Social impact: Amputations also affect a person’s ability to engage in social activities, resulting in social withdrawal and feelings of isolation. This could also cause the person’s relationships to be affected since some amputees tend to avoid contact with their friends, or lash out at those they are still in contact with.

Amputation Injury Lawyers in Atlanta

Amputations injuries are immensely catastrophic and tend to change a person’s life in an innumerable amount of ways. If you suffered an amputation injury that was caused by someone else’s negligence, now is the time to seek the skilled representation of a catastrophic injury attorney. At Pratt Clay, LLC, we will fight to ensure you receive the maximum compensation.

For experienced representation backed by a history of success, contact our office today at (404) 998-5258 and schedule a free no-obligation case review with an Atlanta injury attorney.