Mark D. Hiatt, MD, MBA; James M. Farmer, MD; Robert D. Teasdall, MD, ScM
The Decision to Salvage or Amputate a Severely Injured Limb
ABSTRACT: The decision to salvage or amputate a severely injured limb is one of the most difficult an orthopaedic surgeon may face. The inclination to undertake heroic measures to save the limb should be tempered by the realization that doing so may lead to repeated hospitalizations, extensive complications, and a poor functional outcome. Several factors must be considered, including objective elements related to the patient’s injury and physical condition and subjective considerations related to the patient’s psychologic, social, and economic status. We present a framework, in the context of a case study, which may be used in deciding which patients can benefit from early amputation and review five predictive indices for limb salvage.