Unilateral lower limb loss following combat injury: Medium-term outcomes in British military amputees

Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM), Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TH, UK.
Bone & joint journal 02/2013; 95-B(2):224-9. DOI: 10.1302/0301-620X.95B2.30365
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This is a case series of prospectively gathered data characterising the injuries, surgical treatment and outcomes of consecutive British service personnel who underwent a unilateral lower limb amputation following combat injury. Patients with primary, unilateral loss of the lower limb sustained between March 2004 and March 2010 were identified from the United Kingdom Military Trauma Registry. Patients were asked to complete a Short-Form (SF)-36 questionnaire. A total of 48 patients were identified: 21 had a trans-tibial amputation, nine had a knee disarticulation and 18 had an amputation at the trans-femoral level. The median New Injury Severity Score was 24 (mean 27.4 (9 to 75)) and the median number of procedures per residual limb was 4 (mean 5 (2 to 11)). Minimum two-year SF-36 scores were completed by 39 patients (81%) at a mean follow-up of 40 months (25 to 75). The physical component of the SF-36 varied significantly between different levels of amputation (p = 0.01). Mental component scores did not vary between amputation levels (p = 0.114). Pain (p = 0.332), use of prosthesis (p = 0.503), rate of re-admission (p = 0.228) and mobility (p = 0.087) did not vary between amputation levels. These findings illustrate the significant impact of these injuries and the considerable surgical burden associated with their treatment. Quality of life is improved with a longer residual limb, and these results support surgical attempts to maximise residual limb length. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:224-9.

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