Upper Limb Amputation


Far West


MountainView Hospital

Document Type

Review Article

Publication Date



amputations, diabetes complications, trauma, cancer complications, surgical techniques


Internal Medicine | Musculoskeletal System | Surgery


The prevalence of amputations was 1.6 million in 2005, with projections that the prevalence may double by the year 2050.[1] Part of this increase, after years of decline, might be related to the diabetes epidemic that will eventually force amputation in some patients. The risk of limb loss increases with age (greatest risk is age 65 and above). For upper limb amputations, trauma is the leading cause, accounting for 80% of acquired amputations, occurring in men aged 15 to 45 years. Second most prevalent is cancer/tumors and vascular complications of diseases. Amputations are named by the level at which they have been performed. In ascending order, there is trans-phalangeal, trans-metacarpal, trans-carpal, wrist disarticulation, trans-radial, elbow disarticulation, trans-humeral, shoulder disarticulation, and forequarter amputation. Trans-phalangeal accounts for 78% of all upper extremity amputations. Although various clinical considerations exist, depending on the level of amputation; ultimately the goal in any amputation is to save all feasible length as this directly correlates with improved functional status.

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