3 Stages of Amputee Post-Op Healing

Posted on: July 7th, 2017 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger

Undergoing amputation can be a frightening and emotional ordeal. That’s why Premier Prosthetics would like to prepare you by taking you through the steps of what will happen during the healing phase. This time can be divided into three distinct stages, the first one occurring right after surgery and the third one right before you are fitted with your prosthesis:

  1. After the Surgery.

After surgery, you will spend some time recovering in the hospital. During this time, your healthcare team will be concerned with making sure the soft tissue heals and that they reduce your chances of infection. More than likely, you will have a drainage inserted to make sure fluid don’t build up. Expect regular dressing changes.

If you had an amputation as a result of an injury, you may also have skeletal pins attached to an external device to make sure your bones stay aligned.

  1. Closing off the wound.

Once the tissue has healed, your healthcare team will work to prepare your residual limb for a prosthesis. They will close the wound with sutures, which will be covered with a petroleum gauze and gauze covering. The sutures will stay on for approximately two to three weeks.

After the sutures are removed, your doctor will apply adhesive strips to the end of the wound, which will fall off by themselves in a week. You will also wear rigid compression garments at this time, to reduce swelling and shape your residual limb to fit the prosthesis.

  1. Desensitizing

The final stage of preparing your residual limb for a prosthesis involves being able to tolerate touch and pressure. This can be done by giving yourself regular massages, as well as tapping the end of it for a few minutes every day.

Another way to accomplish desensitizing is to rub various materials on the end of it. Start by gently rubbing it with a cotton ball, then progress to a paper towel and finally to terry cloth. Do this for 2-3 minutes a day, twice a day.


Remember, it’s okay to be overwhelmed and to ask for help during this time. You’re entering a new phase in your life, and you will have to be proactive in order to take care of your residual limb. The team at Premier Prosthetics is here to help. Make an appointment with us today to see how we can help you regain your active life after amputation.

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