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Amputation is defined as the surgical procedure of limb ablation (removal).

This surgery is often performed by orthopedic surgeons with strict indications and contraindications. Typically, physicians will do everything possible to save the limb; however, in some cases, cutting off the limb is inevitable and could save the patient’s life.

In this article, we will briefly discuss some of the indications to perform an amputation.

Causes of Amputation


Ischemia is a medical term that describes the severe decline in blood perfusion to tissues. When the blood vessels of the limb are clogged, and tissue damage occurs beyond repair, surgeons might have to remove the affected limb.


This cause is mainly the result of motor vehicle accidents, which damage all structures of the limb (e.g. muscle, bone, blood vessels, joints).


Severe burns are extremely challenging to manage, and in unusual cases, amputation might be the only solution for these patients.


While frostbites rarely require the amputation of entire limbs, it might be necessary for patients with frozen fingers or toes.


Some cancers that affect muscle, bone, and other connective tissue found in the extremities might indicate the removal of the limb.

Fortunately, cancer is rarely a cause of amputation because it presents early on with warning signs.

Chronic Infection

Recurrent infection that’s resistant to antibiotics might be an indication to ablate the limb, especially if the damage is extending to healthy tissues.


There are several causes of amputation, but in the end, it is up to the surgeon to measure the benefit/risk of performing this procedure.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

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