At Excel Prosthetics & Orthotics, our practitioners and staff are focused on making sure each and every patient is fully prepared for their new journey as an amputee, from surgery to fitting. One of the most important phases of this process is making sure the wounds on the residual limb heal properly. If improperly cared for, one could have trouble fitting into his/her prosthetic properly or rehabilitating the residual limb.
Caring for the Residual Limb Pre-closure
The pre-closure phase of healing happens immediately after amputation. For the most part, the surgical and nursing team will provide support in keeping the wound dressed properly. However, you still have some responsibilities to make sure you are well cared for:
- Tell your nurse if your dressing becomes soiled or if you notice excessive leakage of drainage.
- Wash your hands frequently and ask others to wash their hands when they enter the room.
- Make sure anyone who comes in contact with the dressing washes their hands or wears gloves.
- Move slowly when getting in and our of bed so that the dressing stays secure and any drainage tubes remain in place.
- Make sure your diet includes nutrition that promotes healing.
- Alert your care team if you are experiencing pain during redressing of your wounds.
Your initial healing phase is one of the most important parts of your recovery so make sure to be adamant about these best practices.
Care for the Residual Limb After Closure
After surgery, your residual limb well be sutured to keep the surgical wound closed for approximately 14-21 days. During this time, they should be properly dressed with the right gauze and changed at least twice a day.
After the sutures are removed, adhesive strips are typically used to make sure the wound fully heals with support. During this time, it’s helpful to utilize compression dressings to reduce swelling and shape your residual limb. This is a key element in preparing your limb for the prosthetic fitting. During this time, you should still be mindful of the tips above. If an infection develops, it could lead to more surgery.
After Prosthetic Fitting
After your prosthetic fitting, it’s likely your nerve endings on the residual limb are still healing. It’s also a possibility that you could develop sores while adjusting to your prosthetic. If you do have an issue with wounds on your residual limb after healing, contact your practitioner to see if you need to be refitted.