IMPACTS OF LIMB LOSS

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

Amputation is the surgical removal of a limb. The body undergoes a series of changes due to the loss of a body part. As devastating as the physical effect can be, the mental trauma a person suffers from is inevitable.


PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS


The word Physiology refers to the functions and actions of the living body. The relation of external makeup and chemical processes going on in the body is dealt with under the subject of physiology. The process of amputation is a painful and traumatizing experience.


MOBILITY: The main effect of losing a limb is the restriction of normal movements. The overall mobility of the body is also affected because of the loss of balance. Loss of upper limb leaves a person more prone to collisions and falls. Sometimes, there is a loss of a dominant limb that affects the daily routine and simple tasks like washing, dressing, writing etc. Loss of lower limb is more treacherous because mobility is very hard to recreate even with the best prosthetics.


PHANTOM PAIN: It refers to the sensations of pain in the limb that has been removed. Previously it was believed that the phantom pain is psychological. However, according to new research, there are some nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord that signal the perception.


STUMP PAIN: This is the pain that is felt in the remaining part of the removed limb. The perception is due to the damaged nerve fibers in the area.


INFECTION: There is a possibility that the remainder of the amputated part catches an infection shortly after the surgery. Sometimes, there is a decrease in the blood supply to this area or a clot formation. Such infections have typically bad consequences with further removal of the amputated part.


MUSCLE CONTRACTIONS: This refers to the shortening of a group of muscles. It occurs when after an amputation the limb is kept in a certain position for a long period. Sometimes, due to the abrupt changes in the anatomy of the limb, the muscles undergo contractions.


FATIGUE: Now that the body relies on one limb to perform the function of two, it is very common that the additional effort causes fatigue. Often, it occurs as a side effect of medication.


PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS:


PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is one of the most common psychological disorders that arises with this disturbing event. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia and a constant fear related to the experience.


ANXIETY: It refers to a constant state of being anxious. Uncertainty of the future, painful experience and a constant fear of permanent disfiguration stress the brain that causes anxiety.


DEPRESSION: It is a disorder that is associated with low levels of body serotonin. A constant state of unhappiness and worthlessness is obvious to be associated with these patients. The thoughts of not being able to walk and the social dilemma are disturbing enough to depress the person.


FINAL VERDICT

The process of recovering from an accident like amputation is long, both physically and mentally. It is essential for the patient and his family to be supportive and seek help to move forward.












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