Traumatic and trauma-related amputations represent unfortunate sequelae of severe injury, but should not be viewed as a treatment failure and may represent the best reconstructive option for some patients. Lessons from recent military conflicts have guided the evolution of modern surgical techniques and rehabilitation management of this challenging patient population, and treatment at a specialty center may improve patient outcomes. Despite appropriate management, however, surgical complications remain common and revision surgery is often necessary. Bridge synostosis procedures remain controversial, and clinical equipoise remains regarding their functional benefits. Based on European experience over the last 3 decades, osseointegration has evolved into a viable clinical alternative for patients unable to achieve acceptable function using conventional sockets, and several devices are being developed or tested in the United States. Targeted muscle reinnervation and advanced pattern recognition may dramatically improve the functional potential of many upper extremity amputees, and the procedure may also relieve neuroma-related pain. Furthermore, exciting new research may eventually facilitate haptic feedback and restore useful sensation for amputees. Natural disasters and global terrorism events, in addition to conventional trauma resulting in limb loss, make a working knowledge of current amputation surgical techniques essential to the practicing orthopaedic trauma surgeon.
- Return to duty