Global prevalence of traumatic non-fatal limb amputation

Prosthet Orthot Int. 2021 Apr 1;45(2):105-114. doi: 10.1177/0309364620972258.


Background: Reliable information on both global need for prosthetic services and the current prosthetist workforce is limited. Global burden of disease estimates can provide valuable insight into amputation prevalence due to traumatic causes and global prosthetists needed to treat traumatic amputations.

Objectives: This study was conducted to quantify and interpret patterns in global distribution and prevalence of traumatic limb amputation by cause, region, and age within the context of prosthetic rehabilitation, prosthetist need, and prosthetist education.

Study design: A secondary database descriptive study.

Methods: Amputation prevalence and prevalence rate per 100,000 due to trauma were estimated using the 2017 global burden of disease results. Global burden of disease estimation utilizes a Bayesian metaregression and best available data to estimate the prevalence of diseases and injuries, such as amputation.

Results: In 2017, 57.7 million people were living with limb amputation due to traumatic causes worldwide. Leading traumatic causes of limb amputation were falls (36.2%), road injuries (15.7%), other transportation injuries (11.2%), and mechanical forces (10.4%). The highest number of prevalent traumatic amputations was in East Asia and South Asia followed by Western Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, high-income North America and Eastern Europe. Based on these prevalence estimates, approximately 75,850 prosthetists are needed globally to treat people with traumatic amputations.

Conclusion: Amputation prevalence estimates and patterns can inform prosthetic service provision, education and planning.

MeSH terms

  • Amputation, Surgical
  • Amputation, Traumatic* / epidemiology
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Global Burden of Disease
  • Humans
  • Prevalence