Preparing for your amputation can improve your wound care.
An amputation is a traumatic event both medically and emotionally. In order to experience the best amputation wound healing you can, it’s best to be prepared for what will happen right after your procedure. Here, we’ll walk through what happens just after an amputation surgery.
In the hospital
Directly after your amputation, you’ll usually have oxygen through a mask and fluids on drip while you recover in the hospital. You should be able to eat as normal as soon as the anesthetic has worn off. At this stage, the wound care you receive will include a bandage or a plaster over the wound site and possibly a tube under the skin to drain excess fluid from the site. The bandage will stay in place for several days to ensure you do not contract an infection. You will be in pain after an amputation, so it’s important to tell your medical provider if your medications don’t seem to be working so you are as comfortable as possible.
Getting ready to go home
As you are on your way to being discharged from the hospital, you’ll meet with a lot of people. A social worker might talk to you about the changes amputation will bring to your life, while an occupational therapist and physiotherapist will help make sure your environment and skills are up to the task of recovery.
You will also be shown how to dress your own wound, which will be necessary for some time after you are discharged. Ask your clinician for the right wound care supplies in the correct amounts so you do not need to worry whether you are doing it correctly. You’ll also be asked to wear compression garments to support your stump, reduce phantom pain and shape it slightly. You must wear them all day and take them off at night, as well as wash them regularly.
When you’re home
After your amputation, you will have a lot of support in getting used to life without one of your limbs. However, there will be a lot for you to do by yourself too. One of these things is watching your wound for signs of infection, which could include fluid discharge, warm skin and swelling. As you are dressing and caring for your wound, pay attention to it. You should also know that the skin on your stump will be tender and prone to injury for quite some time.
Always contact your physician if you have a question or concern.
Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients.