Prevalence of late amputations during the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq

Mil Med. 2010 Dec;175(12):1027-9. doi: 10.7205/milmed-d-10-00102.


During the current conflicts, over 950 soldiers have sustained a combat-related amputation. The majority of these are acute, but an unknown number are performed months to years after the initial injury. The goal of this study is to determine the prevalence of late amputations in our combat wounded. Electronic medical records and radiographs of all soldiers who had a combat-related, lower extremity injury that resulted in amputation were reviewed to confirm demographic, injury, and amputation information. Time to amputation was defined as a late amputation when it occurred more than 12 weeks following the date of injury. There were 348 major limb amputees that met inclusion criteria. Fifty-three (15.2%) amputees had a late amputation (range = 12 wk-5.5 yr). While the majority of combat-related amputations occur acutely, more than 15% occur late. This study demonstrates that further research is needed to identify predictive factors and outcomes of the late amputation.

MeSH terms

  • Afghan Campaign 2001-*
  • Amputation, Surgical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Amputees / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011*
  • Limb Salvage
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies