Pediatric Traumatic Amputations in the United States: A 5-Year Review

J Pediatr Orthop. 2017 Mar;37(2):e104-e107. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000000693.


Background: Pediatric traumatic amputations are devastating injuries capable of causing permanent physical and psychological sequelae. Few epidemiologic reports exist for guidance of prevention strategies. The objective of this study is to review the recent trends in pediatric traumatic amputations using a national databank.

Methods: A review of all pediatric (age, 0 to 17 y) amputee patients was performed using the National Trauma Data Bank from 2007 to 2011. Data including demographics, location of amputation, and mechanism of injury were analyzed.

Results: In the analysis 2238 patients were identified. The majority of amputations occurred in the youngest (0 to 5 y) and oldest (15 to 17 y) age groups with a 3:1 male to female ratio. The most common amputation locations were finger (54%) and toe (20%). A caught between mechanism (16.3%) was most common overall followed by machinery, powered lawn mowers, motor vehicle collisions, firearms, and off-road vehicles. Males were statistically more likely to have an amputation and lawnmower injuries were statistically associated with lower extremity amputations in children 5 years old and below. Motor vehicle injuries were the most common cause of adolescent amputations. Firearm-related amputations occurred predominantly in adolescents, whereas off-road vehicle amputations occurred in all ages.

Conclusions: Common trends in pediatric amputations are relatively unchanged over the last decade. Young children sustain more finger amputations from a caught between objects mechanism, whereas adolescents sustain serious amputations from higher energy mechanisms such as firearms-related and motor vehicle-related injuries. Lawnmower-related amputations continue to most significantly affect younger children despite increased public awareness. Improved prevention strategies targeting age and mechanism-related trends are necessary to prevent these costly and debilitating injuries.

Level of evidence: Level IV.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Amputation, Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Amputation, Traumatic / etiology
  • Amputees
  • Child
  • Child Health Services
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology