The days before your surgery.
Before your amputation surgery:
~ We strongly encourage you to talk with your surgeon, other doctors, and nurses. Speaking with your surgeon, or your surgeons nurse will give you the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what is involved with your actual operation, immediate recovery and rehabilitation time afterwards.
Keep in mind when you are talking with your doctor you will have the opportunity to ask questions, which are important to you. Keeping a list of questions at home will enable you to remember all the topics when you are in front of your physician. (Don't forget to bring the list wth you) Of course, if you’ve had a traumatic accident, your conversations will occur after the surgery.
~ Be sure that your surgeon has all pertinent medical records from your other physicians. This information is helpful to the doctor leading up to your amputation surgery. Anesthesiologists are interested in knowing your prior surgical history and any complications you may have had during the surgery with anesthesia and/or being intubated (a tube being placed down your throat to help you breathe). Also, other issues such as, diabetes may play a major role in your healing process. Your surgeon needs to know as much as he or she can prior to your surgery. This cannot be stressed enough.
~ You will be asked to fast for eight hours before the procedure, generally after midnight. If you are a diabetic, get specific instructions from you doctor on how to manage your food intake and blood sugar levels, along with a proper insulin dose.
~ Tell your doctor if you are sensitive to, or are allergic to any medications, latex, tape.
~ Be sure to tell your doctor all of the medications (prescription and yes, even over-the-counter medications) and any herbal supplements that you are taking.
~ Let your doctor know if you have a history of any bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood–thinning) medications, aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), or any other medications that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary for you to stop these medications prior to your surgery. Make your medical team aware of this several weeks prior to surgery.
~ If possible, you should be trying to do some therapy exercises you’ll use after your amputation before your surgery even takes place. It is very important to have those muscles strengthened in advance. Also, it would be wise to practice transfers i.e.: from bed to wheelchair and wheelchair to toilet. If you have had experience with crutches, that will also be an advantage after your surgery. These are things that you will be working on during your time postop in a rehab facility or nursing home. Not everyone goes to rehab or a nursing home, some people do go home with home health physical therapy and/or outpatient rehabilitation.
~ It is important to be in touch with your feelings prior to your amputation. Amputation surgery causes a big change in your life and it may be helpful to get some psychological help/counsel. The loss of a limb can bring on grief, sadness, and even depression. This will be a good time to develop a good support team. Family and friends are good for support but it may benefit you to speak with a counselor, Psychologist or a life coach about how you are feeling, your fears and how you plan to deal with these feelings when they come up. Speak with your doctor about your feelings and he or she should be able to make a referral if necessary.
~ It is also recommended, if possible, that you talk with other amputees, either by telephone or in person. We strongly encourage support on our Facebook page. We have many people who have been through this and are at many different stages in their recovery. You will be able to learn how others have dealt with their surgery and also they will be able to share some helpful tips for the many stages. Your health care team might also be able to refer you to a peer support group in your area. For more information about peer support, send us an email at email@example.com
This list is not intended to be an all inclusive list. If you have actual knowledge to other items not mentioned please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org for posting consideration.