Major traumatic limb loss among women veterans and servicemembers

J Rehabil Res Dev. 2013;50(2):173-82. doi: 10.1682/jrrd.2012.01.0007.


The number of women veterans is rapidly growing, and little is known regarding the health and healthcare needs of women veterans with traumatic limb loss. The objective of this study was to summarize physical and mental health conditions and rates of prosthetic prescriptions among women service members and veterans with major traumatic limb loss. Researchers and clinicians who administered the Survey for Prosthetic Use contacted and enrolled 283 servicemembers and veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom with major traumatic limb loss. Participants provided information on health status; comorbidities; other combat injuries; and prosthetic device use, rejection, and replacement. Of the 283 veterans, 9 (3%) were women. Compared with men, women reported more than a threefold higher prevalence of migraine (67% vs 20%, p = 0.001). Compared with men, women received 0.42 more prostheses per year, rejected 0.11 more prostheses per year, but replaced 0.18 fewer prostheses per year. With the exception of migraine headaches, men and women servicemembers and veterans with major traumatic limb loss report similarly high prevalence of physical and mental health conditions. Women report higher rates of prosthesis receipt and rejection and lower rates of prosthesis replacement than men. These findings highlight some potential issues specific to women veterans that may require additional clinical attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-
  • Amputation, Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Amputation, Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • Arthritis / epidemiology
  • Artificial Limbs / statistics & numerical data
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Phantom Limb / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • United States
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*