Injury: Amputation

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


Thanks to medical advances, serious injuries that once might have been debilitating can now be treated so that victims are more likely to recover without long-term disability. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about some of these advances, as well as what you can do to improve your chances of recovering from an injury.

Finger and toe amputations sometimes occur when working around the home and lawn, particularly in lawn mower accidents. In some cases, severed digits can be reattached, but only if care is taken immediately after the accident. Dr. Maureen Finnegan, an orthopaedic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says that if you accidentally sever a finger or toe, you should clean the amputated part with salt water, wrap it in gauze and put it in a waterproof bag. Put the bag over ice, and then get to the hospital as soon as possible, bringing the amputated part with you. Surgeons may then be able to reattach the digit.

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September 2011

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