Objective: To document and examine the use, satisfaction, and problems with prosthetic devices among persons who suffered a trauma-related lower limb amputation.
Design: Abstracted medical records and follow-up interview data were collected for a retrospective cohort of persons with a lower limb trauma-related amputation who received their acute care at the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore, MD, between 1984 and 1994. Patients with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, or only toe amputations were excluded.
Results: There were 146 patients identified. Of those, 9% died during the acute admission and 3.5% died after discharge. Seventy-eight amputees were available for interview (68% response rate). The majority of those interviewed were male (87%), and two-thirds had undergone amputation before age 40 yr. Nearly 95% had a prosthesis and wore it an average of 80 hr (SD = 33) per week. Despite high use, only 43% reported being satisfied with the comfort of their prosthesis. About one-quarter of all users reported problems with wounds, skin irritation, or pain. Traumatic amputees used an average of four prostheses since injury, about one new prosthesis every 2 yr. Statistical analyses revealed that males reported higher prosthetic use (P < 0.01). Higher Injury Severity Score negatively impacted on prosthetic use (P < 0.01). Phantom pain negatively influenced reported satisfaction with the prosthesis (P < 0.03)
Conclusions: Although almost all persons living with trauma-related amputations use prosthetic devices, the majority are not satisfied with prosthetic comfort. Phantom pain and residual limb skin problems are also common afflictions in this population.