Deciding on surgery
Does my child need to have an amputation?
If we present an amputation as a treatment option for your child, it is because we feel that an amputation will help your child be as highly functioning as possible, including relieving their pain and reducing the number of surgeries that they may have to endure. We will always discuss all treatment options with you.
Do you provide prenatal counseling?
Yes, we provide prenatal counseling for families who are facing this difficult situation. We highly encourage you to come in for an appointment with any information you’ve obtained from your OB/GYN. We are happy to discuss their findings along with what to expect when the baby is born, and more importantly, what to expect as they develop.
It seems like an amputation is the best option for my child, but there are several different options available. How do I decide which to choose?
Every situation is unique, and your treatment team will go over all the options with you. We recommend you consider these factors:
- Which option is likely to be the most comfortable for your child?
- Which option gives your child the most function?
- Which option will you and your child feel most comfortable with in terms of appearance?
I don’t know anyone who has had an amputation. Is it possible to meet someone and ask them some questions to better understand what their life is like?
Absolutely. We encourage this and actively try to facilitate it. Several of our current and prior patients welcome contact from families in this situation. We also hold a yearly amputee fair so that possible amputee patients can meet current amputee patients and their families. If either of these options interests you, ask us for more information.
What to expect from surgery
Will my child be asleep for the procedure?
Your child will be asleep. An anesthesiologist will meet with you and your child before the procedure to discuss going to sleep before the surgery and waking up afterward. The anesthesiologist may also discuss options for controlling your child’s pain after surgery.
Will my child need to stay in the hospital after the procedure?
A one-night stay at the hospital is typical, but additional time may be necessary depending on your child’s situation. For your child to return home, we will need to make sure they are not having trouble eating or drinking, are responding well to their medications and are able to perform specific movements. Your treatment team will give you an estimate of how long your child’s hospital stay might be.
Will my child need to use a wheelchair or crutches?
If the procedure is on one of your child’s legs, they will likely need to use crutches or a wheelchair for a period of time. This is because your child’s skin and other tissues need to heal before they can use a prosthesis.
Will my child need physical therapy after the procedure?
Your child will likely need some physical therapy after the procedure, and a Children’s Colorado physical therapist will be a part of your care team.
I’ve heard that some people can still feel like they have the body part after an amputation. Is this normal?
This is normal, and it’s called a phantom sensation. Not all patients experience it, but many do for a period of time. If this sensation is uncomfortable for your child, speak with your treatment team about options.
When will my child get a prosthesis?
Most patients will start the process for a prosthesis approximately four to six weeks after surgery, but the exact timeline may depend on how well your child is healing from surgery.
How does a prosthesis stay on?
The fit of a prosthesis and the way the device stays attached to the leg is different for everyone. There are many ways to fit a prosthesis to your child’s leg, and your prosthetist will discuss options with you.
How difficult is it to get the prosthesis to fit correctly?
In most cases, your child will need one or two doctor visits for X-rays, and a few visits to the prosthetist for construction of the device. These appointments will help ensure a quality fit for your child. If your child has a more complex medical condition, this process can take longer. In growing children, prostheses need to be evaluated at least once a year.
Are bionic prostheses available that can make my child like they were prior to the amputation?
Many different types of prostheses are available. Your child’s doctor, prosthetist and therapist will work with you to choose the prosthesis that best suits your child’s current needs and their future goals. No prosthesis has the full abilities of a natural limb, but there are prostheses available that allow for full participation in normal childhood activities.
Life after amputation
What physical activities and support groups are available for people with disabilities?
There are many organizations that specialize in teaching children with disabilities and their families about activities, events and outings. Take a look at our list of organizations included on this webpage.
What follow-up care should we expect after an amputation?
Follow-up care for your child is specific to the surgery we perform. We have a multidisciplinary clinic available once a month at our location on Anschutz Medical Campus. During this clinic appointment, your care providers from orthopedics and rehabilitation, therapy and prosthetics will discuss next steps with you and your child.