The experience of amputation and prosthesis use for adults: a metasynthesis

Disabil Rehabil. 2013 Jul;35(14):1133-42. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2012.723790. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


Purpose: To identify and synthesize qualitative literature on the experience of amputation and prosthesis use for adults, and to make recommendations based on these findings for rehabilitation services.

Methods: A systematic search of three databases for qualitative research exploring the experience of amputation and prosthesis use for adults was undertaken. Included papers were evaluated using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) quality guidelines. Data were extracted and themes synthesized in accordance with accepted procedures for qualitative metasyntheses.

Results: From the 15 papers (13 studies) included in there view, five concepts were identified: (i) Becoming an amputee and facing prosthesis use; (ii) Adjustment to and coping with amputation and prosthesis use; (iii) The role of valued relationships in recovery; (iv) Amputation and prosthesis use in social interaction; and (v) Prosthetically enabled identities.

Conclusions: The findings provide a base from which to make suggestions regarding the provision of health rehabilitation services for this population. It is recommended that such services make greater use of psychological interventions and education, include patients' social support networks, use psychotherapy to support and develop positive coping strategies, and facilitate peer support from those who have already made positive adjustments to amputation and prosthesis use.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Amputation, Surgical / psychology*
  • Amputation, Surgical / rehabilitation
  • Amputees / psychology*
  • Amputees / rehabilitation
  • Artificial Limbs*
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Concept
  • Social Support