A Manual for Above-Knee Amputees


The objective of this manual is to make readily available to "above-knee" amputees, including persons who have had a knee disarticulation, hip-disarticulation or hemipelvectomy, the information generally provided to them orally by members of the treatment team- the medical doctor, the physical therapist, the prosthetist, and others. Included, also is additional information that we hope will be interesting and useful to persons with an amputation at the level of the knee and above.

An amputation results in a disabling condition. However, with modern prostheses and treatment methods, and when the musculature is good, the circulation is adequate, and there is an absence of excessive scarring, the unilateral aboveknee and knee-disarticulation amputees can do many of the things they could before amputation.

During the past few years the International Standards Organization has developed a standard method of describing amputations and prostheses that is being adapted worldwide. Of special importance here is the use of "trans-femoral" in place of "above-knee" to identify an amputation between the knee and hip joint. This term has been adopted to avoid confusion with disarticulation at the hip and amputations through the pelvis.

In recent years, there has arisen an aversion to the use of the word "stump" in referring to that part of the limb that is left after amputation, and attempts have been made to find another term that could be used. This has proven to a difficult, if not impossible, task because there is no synonym in the English language for "stump." The terms "residual limb" and simply "limb" which have been suggested are ambiguous at best, and since nothing better seems available, the word "stump" has been retained by the International Standards Organization and is used here to avoid confusion.

Many people have contributed to the success of previous editions of this booklet, but we want to express special appreciation to Ted Muilenburg, Jon Holmes, Ted Thranhardt, Richard Bailey, and Ron Spiers for reviewing with care our drafts of this edition and making many helpful suggestions.

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Copyright 1996 - Alvin L. Muilenburg and A. Bennett Wilson, jr.

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