A Manual for Above-Knee Amputees

The Immediate Postsurgical Period

Nearly every amputee feels quite depressed immediately after the surgery, except possibly those who have suffered intense pain for a period just prior to the amputation. This depression is usually replaced early by a will to resume an active life.

The dressing applied by the surgeon is either "rigid," usually made of plaster-of-Paris, or "soft," using ordinary cotton bandaging techniques.

When a rigid dressing is used it is left on for 10 to 14 days during which time most of the healing has taken place. When the soft dressing is used, elastic bandages are used soon after surgery to aid circulation. The bandages are removed and reapplied throughout the day. (Instructions for application of elastic bandages are given in the next section)

Regardless of the type of dressing used, exercises are extremely important to prevent tightening of the muscles, or contractures, which, when present prevent efficient use of a prosthesis.

Some DON'Ts that will prevent muscle tightening, or contractures, are shown below.

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

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