Avoid Amputation with Limb Salvage Surgery

Needing to get your foot amputated is a life-changing prospect. Although amputations are sometimes medically necessary, thankfully, it’s now often possible to avoid limb amputations with sophisticated limb salvage surgery.

If your foot is at risk of needing to be amputated, our board-certified podiatrists, Dr. Thomas Rambacher and Dr. Michael Bastani, at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle in Mission Viejo, California, can often salvage your foot by performing limb salvage surgery. Discover more about this incredible procedure, and who can get it.

What is limb salvage surgery?

Limb salvage surgery is performed to save a foot or other limb that would otherwise need to be amputated. If you have a significant amount of bone or tissue that needs to be removed from your limb, it can leave your limb in a precarious condition. 

In the past, amputation of your foot was usually the only option, but now, our doctors frequently can save your foot with reconstructive surgery. This involves rebuilding bones, tendons, and tissues in your foot after removing the problematic bones or tissues.

Who can get limb salvage surgery?

You might be a candidate for limb salvage surgery if you need significant bone or tissue removed from your foot or ankle and would otherwise need to have your limb amputated. This surgery is commonly a good fit for patients with large, often cancerous tumors that need to be removed.

Limb salvage surgery can also be appropriate in other circumstances. For example, you might be able to benefit from limb salvage surgery if you have severe side effects from a diabetic wound or need significant foot reconstruction to prevent limb loss due to serious foot abnormalities or damage.

What happens during limb salvage surgery?

Every limb salvage surgery is different, depending on the reason you need the surgery, the specific bone or tissue being removed, and the type of reconstruction your foot or ankle needs. Before your surgery, our doctors evaluate your foot and form a detailed removal and reconstruction plan.

Our doctors begin your surgery by removing the necessary bone or tissue from your foot or ankle. Once they’ve accomplished this, they begin the process of reconstruction.

Reconstruction of bones and tissue can involve a variety of different techniques. These include bone replacements, external fixation or reinforcement using bolts or wires, reconnecting blood vessels, and replacing muscles and tissues.

What is recovery from limb salvage surgery like?

After surgery, our doctors provide you with detailed postoperative care instructions to ensure you have a smooth recovery. Depending on the complexity of your procedure, initial recovery can take 2-6 weeks.

Often, you’ll need to avoid bearing weight on your foot for some time after surgery and move around with crutches. Your post-operative rehab can include exercises and physical therapy to help you strengthen and move comfortably on your foot.

If you think you might need foot amputation, don’t panic; our team might be able to reconstruct and save your limb instead. To discuss the possibilities for limb salvage surgery, schedule a consultation with our doctors over the phone or online.

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