When it comes to diabetes, the numbers concerning amputation are sobering: Approximately 15% of diabetics develop foot ulcers, and 14-24% of those patients will require amputation. If you find yourself in this unfortunate category, you need a team that works toward limb salvage, allowing you to maintain as much function as possible. Such a team is found in Joseph R. Disabato, DPM, and Melissa L. Gulosh, DPM, at Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates. If you’d like to explore your options in limb salvage, call one of the two locations in Charlottesville or Culpeper, Virginia, or use the online booking tool.
Limb Salvage Q & A
What is limb salvage?
In the simplest of terms, limb salvage refers to any measure the doctors at Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates take to preserve the use of a limb, in this case, your lower extremities. Through bone grafting, implants, or a combination of the two, the surgeons are often able to safeguard your ability to function after an amputation.
In addition to function, the doctors make every attempt to maintain the appearance of your lower extremity at the same time.
Why would I need limb salvage?
The primary reason why you may need an amputation, or subsequent limb salvage, is due to diabetes. More than 80% of amputations among diabetics start with a foot ulcer, which, left untreated, can quickly lead to irreversible soft tissue, nerve, and bone damage that requires amputation.
Outside of diabetes, there are other reasons why you may be facing amputation, including:
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Circulatory problems brought about by obesity
- Injury or trauma
However you arrive at amputation, the goal of the doctors at Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates is to find a way to preserve your function, which is especially important when it comes to your lower limbs.
What are my options when it comes to limb salvage?
If amputation is required, the surgeons at Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates make every effort to remove only what’s necessary and replace the hard or soft tissue with implants or grafts using microsurgical techniques. Every case is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to diabetic limb salvage, or limb salvage of any kind.
After an extensive review of your issue, your doctor tailors a limb-salvage plan to meet your goals. As part of these efforts, they may turn to external fixation, which is a technique that stabilizes your bones from the outside to encourage them to heal properly. Using metal components, your surgeon fixes your bones with screws and pins, which are attached to an external frame.
Once your foot or ankle has healed, your doctor removes the device and gets you started on physical therapy.
While this procedure often allows you to avoid amputation, it may be part of your limb salvage to allow your newly reconstructed lower limb the chance to heal more strongly.
To explore your options when it comes to limb salvage, call Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates or use the online scheduling tool to set up a consultation.