According to amputation statistics, around 2.1 million people in the United States live with limb loss. According to the Amputee Coalition, approximately 185,000 people undergo amputation yearly, and about 507 lose a limb daily.
Causes of amputation vary from traumatic accidents to medical conditions.
Still, one thing remains the same–living with limb loss is often an immense difficulty, especially for people without the resources to adjust to their new conditions.
Accidental injuries and violent crime are common causes of limb loss in the US. You could pursue financial compensation if you or a loved one lost a limb due to someone else’s actions.
Our personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, are here to help you and your family seek justice for such a traumatic event.
Contact a Chicago amputation injury lawyer at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation.
What is Amputation?
Amputation is the removal or loss of a body part, such as a hand, foot, toe, finger, leg, or arm. Traumatic amputations occur when a person loses a body part due to an accident or injury.
On the other hand, disease-related amputations arise when a body part requires surgical removal to increase a person’s chances of survival.
Recovery requires a multidisciplinary approach in physical medicine, often involving intensive wound care and close monitoring to avoid complications.
Moreover, post-operative care or rehabilitation usually combines physical therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health support.
What Causes Limb Loss?
A person can suffer limb loss due to the following causes:
Accidents, Combat, and Violent Crime
Accidents commonly cause limb loss in the US, particularly vehicular and workplace accidents. Injuries during these events (e.g., lacerations, burns, crushing injuries) can be so severe that instantaneous limb loss may occur, or the victim requires surgical limb removal to save their life.
Similarly, a combat or violent crime injury may lead to limb loss if the tissue is damaged beyond the point of saving.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) in the lower extremities is the blockage or narrowing of blood vessels that transport blood to the legs.
The primary cause of peripheral arterial disease is an accumulation of fatty plaque in the inner lining of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis.
The following increase the risk of PAD:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Chronic kidney disease
- Age above 60
PAD is the leading cause of limb loss in the US. Restricted blood flow limits the oxygen supply in the lower limbs, leading to tissue death, which, in turn, causes an increased risk of lower limb loss.
Other Vascular Disease
Diabetic neuropathy is another condition that can lead to limb loss.
Diabetic patients are prone to nerve damage due to prolonged spikes of blood sugar levels, which can cause leg pain, numbing, tingling, or loss of feeling in the feet.
Furthermore, diabetes mellitus may reduce blood flow to the lower limbs, slowing or stopping wound healing.
Numbness or loss of sensation in the foot can prevent a person from noticing wounds, blisters, or cuts on their skin.
When left untreated, bacteria may invade these injuries and develop into an infection. Due to restricted blood flow, these wounds may take too long to heal or not heal at all, requiring surgical removal of the foot to prevent the infection from spreading.
Another type of vascular disease that can lead to limb loss is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), wherein the veins in the legs cannot pump blood back to the heart effectively.
This backflow can lead to blood pooling in the legs, further damaging the veins and increasing the risk of limb loss.
Cancer-Related Limb Loss
Certain cancers can affect bone and soft tissue in the upper and lower limbs.
Doctors may remove affected limbs if the cancer is too large, keeps coming back, or reaches the blood vessels and nerves.
Amputating the cancerous body parts can stop the disease from spreading and increase the patient’s chances of survival.
The Amputee Coalition (AC) is a national non-profit organization working to raise awareness of amputations and support people living with limb loss. The organization’s latest amputation statistics and facts in the US include the following:
- 2.1 million people are living with limb loss
- 185,000 patients undergo amputation surgery yearly
- 507 people suffer limb loss daily
- 36% million amputees experience depression
- 85% of lower limb amputations occur due to foot ulcers
- There are more male amputees (69%) than female amputees (31%)
- The largest age range of amputees is between 45 and 64 years old
- 54% of amputations are caused by vascular disease; 45% occur due to trauma, and 2% are preceded by cancer
- Lower limb loss is more prevalent (65%) than upper limb loss (35%)
The Amputee Coalition estimates 3.6 million people will experience limb loss by 2050.
How to Avoid Limb Loss Due to Diabetes, Peripheral Arterial Disease, and Other Vascular Conditions
Preventing limb loss requires a holistic and multifaceted approach toward health and wellness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the following strategies can reduce your risk of amputation caused by vascular conditions:
- Address the Risk Factors: If you have diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, or other conditions that increase your risk of peripheral artery disease, consult your doctor about managing your disease better to avoid complications.
- Lead a Healthy Lifestyle: Smoking, high-fat diets, low physical activity, and excessive alcohol can increase your risk of vascular diseases.
- Watch Out for Warning Signs: If you experience leg pain, numbness, or tingling in the feet, contact your doctor immediately. These symptoms may indicate neuropathy, a leading risk factor in foot ulcers.
- Protect Your Feet: Wear proper footwear if you work in a place with a high risk of injury, such as construction sites. If you are diabetic, keep your feet covered as much as possible to avoid injuries that could lead to foot ulcers.
Regardless of the cause, losing a limb is a traumatic and life-altering experience.
Hence, amputees need great care and support to heal, avoid complications, and eventually learn how to live with their new circumstances.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney to Resolve an Amputation Compensation Case
If you or a loved one lost a limb due to someone else’s actions, you could seek financial compensation by filing a personal injury claim.
Our Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC attorneys can help you and your family receive the support and recompense you deserve.
Contact our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our lawyers will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our attorneys handle all accepted personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. You don’t have to pay our legal fees unless we win your case.