The Surgery

Sleep will be minimal the night before surgery and the walk into pre-surgery will be a difficult one. If you can still walk on two feet it will be your last two-footed walk.

The following links will give you explanations of the surgery steps involve in amputation.
Ask your surgeon about the method he will use.

Below-knee amputation surgical outline:

ERTL Reconstruction is the best below knee amputation procedure to have for highly active below knee amputee.  Not what I have, I was not aware of the ERTL at the time of my amputation.

Above-knee amputation surgical outline:

Partial-foot amputation surgical outline:

Link to video of a below-knee amputation being performed:

My description of my amputation procedure:
The damage was in my lower leg, ankle and foot, so I had a below-knee amputation (LBKA). My left leg was removed six inches from the top of my tibia. The surgeon cut thought the front of my leg at the six inch mark, though the tibia and fibula, leaving a flap of calf muscle and skin from the back of the leg. Next the muscle was folded forward over the end of the bones creating padding. The padding will help make wearing the prosthetic more comfortable. Lastly the flap of skin was folded forward over the muscle and stapled to the skin in the front of my leg, creating a large incision approximately 2/3 the circumference of the stump. 24 staples to be exact! A well-padded plaster splint was then placed on the remaining part of my leg holding the knee straight and for pain control.

That is the simple layman’s description. It’s obviously a whole lot more complicated as there are veins, arteries, nerves and tendons all involved.

The first days of being an amputee

Day 2 – I was afraid to move the residual leg. That did not last long as the nurses were quick to get me out of bed and into a chair. Once I moved the leg I was fine and ready to go. Soon Physical Therapy came to see me. To their surprise, I was eager to get up and take a walk with my crutches. At first they were hesitant to let me go, but soon realized I was more than capable of navigating on one leg and crutches.

Day 3 – Much the same as day 2.

Day 4 – The orthopedic PA came in and removed the splint. While I knew the splint would be removed, it was comforting to have it on and I was hoping to keep it for as long as possible. As he began to remove the splint my eyes were fixated on the stump. Seeing the exposed stump was difficult and I wondered if I would ever get used to seeing it. It looked like something out of a horror movie. Dressings were put on the wound and the stump was wrapped with an ace bandage. Once again I was eager to get up on the crutches and take walks up and down the halls. Later that day I met with a prosthetist, who placed a stump shrinker on the stump. The stump shrinker is a compression-type sock that fits over the end of the stump and helps to minimize swelling. It prepares the stump to fit into the prosthetic.

Day 5 – I was discharged to go begin my life as an amputee.