Call: 310-362-3099

Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Understanding Leg Amputation: Surgery for a Medical ConditionLa amputaci³n de pierna: Cirug­a para un problema m©dico

Understanding Leg Amputation: Surgery for a Medical Condition

You've been told by a doctor that you need to have a leg amputation. This is a surgery to remove part or all of your leg. It is done because tissue in the leg is diseased and can't be healed. Or it may be needed to prevent the disease from spreading farther into your body. The purpose of the surgery is to restore your ability to function. This is because removing the diseased part of your leg can improve your total health.

Why Amputation Is Needed

An amputation is done only after doctors have tried to treat the problem in other ways. They have determined that your body can't heal the tissue damage in your leg. The tissue may be badly infected or even dead. The most common causes of tissue damage include:

  • Foot ulcers (sores) due to diabetes

  • Reduced blood flow caused by peripheral vascular disease (PVD)

  • Tumors due to cancer

  • Severe infection resulting from wounds

About the Surgery

The surgeon will save as much of your limb as possible. This may include joints, such as the knee. But you may not know before the surgery how much of the leg will remain. Sometimes, another surgery is needed later to remove more of the leg. This is done to preserve your health and improve healing.

After the Surgery
Talk with the surgeon about the care you'll need after surgery.

When you wake up, you'll be on pain medication to help keep you comfortable. You'll have a cast or other form of pressure dressing on your leg. This helps control swelling and aid healing. You may begin physical therapy (PT) soon after surgery, depending on your health. PT strengthens your muscles and helps to prevent muscle or joint tightening. You'll also learn how to safely transfer between your bed and other surfaces, such as a chair. This helps prevent falls and protects your wound while it heals. When you're ready, you may be able to move around using a walker or crutches. And when your wound has healed, you may be able to be fitted for an artificial limb.

Living with Limb Loss

Losing a limb is life-changing. It's normal to feel upset, sad, scared, angry, or even relieved after surgery. You'll likely have a lot of questions or concerns about your future. You may wish to talk to an expert on emotional changes, such as a psychologist. Keep in mind that the goal of this surgery is to restore function. This is so your health can improve and you can live your life more fully. See the box below for places where you can find extra support.

Long-Term Concerns

Health problems that led to amputation can still affect your intact (natural) leg. Work closely with your healthcare team to manage your overall health. Stay as active as you can. But keep a close watch on your intact foot and leg. Look carefully for wounds that don't heal or areas that change color or lose feeling. Take all medications as directed by your doctor. This can help keep you from having to go through another surgery.

Notes for Family and Friends

When someone you care about has an amputation, it may come as a shock. You may wonder if your loved one will be able to care for him- or herself. You may not know how to react to the changes to his or her body. These are normal concerns. It will take time for the whole family to adjust. Keep in mind that limb loss does not change who a person is. Right now, your loved one will need your complete support. Take an active role in his or her care. Help to collect and remember information, such as medications and doctor's appointments. Most importantly, your family member or friend needs your understanding and patience. Don't forget to listen. Let him or her tell you what kind of support is needed. To learn more about adjusting to limb loss, see the box below. 

Resources for Support

To learn more about limb loss and to get support, contact:

  • Amputee Coalition of America

  • American Amputee Foundation

  • Amputee Resource Foundation of America, Inc.











Date Last Reviewed: 2006-12-31T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified:

What's new in our practice

Outpatient Knee Replacement

Dr. Hannon is excited to offer outpatient robotic knee replacement as joint replacement surgery shifts to the surgery center in light of the Covid-19 pandemic
Learn more

Thank you to Los Angeles Magazine for this great honor. We are so happy to be able to do what we do and take care of the best patients in LA.

Sports Medicine Doctor Los Angeles - Michael Hannon - Orthopedic Surgeon Los Angeles

EPAT is here!

We are excited to now offer our patients EPAT treatment for chronic tendinitis...
Learn more

Sports Medicine Doctor Los Angeles - Michael Hannon - Orthopedic Surgeon Los Angeles

Dr. Mary Hannon joins the practice

Dr. Mary Hannon joins the practice to add non-operative orthopedic care and urgent/immediate care services...
Learn more

Sports Medicine Doctor Los Angeles - Michael Hannon - Orthopedic Surgeon Los Angeles

Latest News

Dr. Hannon and his wife, Dr. Mary Hannon, recently had the great privilege of returning to the Holy Family Surgery Center in Honduras...
Learn more

Connect with Hannon Orthopedics

  • SM facebook
  • SM Youtube
  • SM yelp
  • SM gplus
  • SM instagram

Read what our patients say about us


From the first interview/evaluation through the surgery and follow ups, I have felt taken care of and in excellent, professional and kind hands. Dr. Hannon is a remarkable man, a spectacular teacher as well as surgeon. He patiently answered every question and concern in the most understandable, apprehendable way. An excellent care giver and a gifted surgeon.

Read more
Contact Us: 99 N La Cienega, Suite 304, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 •Phone: 310-362-3099 •Fax: 424-355-0555