Your Amputation Team

Before and after surgery, you’ll work closely with a team of experts. You are part of the team and the most important member. Your healthcare team will guide you and your family through surgery and recovery. Get to know the members of your team. Some of the people you’ll likely be working with are listed below.

Members of your amputation team

Not every team is made up of the same people. But you may work with many of these experts:

  • A surgeon. A surgeon does the actual surgery. They might specialize in one of several areas. This may include bones, blood vessels, or sudden injury (trauma). They may also write prescriptions needed for further care.

  • Nurses. Nurses provide care in the hospital before and after your surgery. Nurses also assist the surgeon and primary care physician.

  • A physiatrist. This is an expert in physical medicine and rehabilitation. They help you during the postoperative period. They also help you get ready for a prosthesis. The physiatrist may also write prescriptions needed for further care.

  • A physical therapist (PT). A PT teaches you stretching and strengthening exercises before and after surgery. You’ll learn to transfer (move) safely between two surfaces after surgery. The PT helps you learn to walk again after you receive a prosthesis. They also teach you how to use walking aids, if needed.

  • An occupational therapist (OT). An OT shows you how to resume daily tasks. They also teach you self-care skills after surgery. The OT can provide you with adaptive devices to help you do self-care tasks. This may include tools to assist you in bathing or dressing.

  • The primary care doctor. This provider helps you with general medical care through the amputation. They also help during and after recovery.

  • A prosthetist. A prosthetist helps you shape your residual limb for a prosthesis. They also fit your prosthesis and teach you how to care for it.

  • A social worker. They help you learn about resources for support. This includes financial and emotional support or home help, if needed. 

  • A psychologist. A psychologist talks to you about emotional issues surrounding limb loss.

  • A home health worker. They help you with daily tasks at home during your recovery.

For family and friends

Your role in your loved one’s recovery is vital. You can give support by:

  • Helping to collect and remember information

  • Going to all appointments

  • Learning ways to help with pain management

  • Helping with safe transfers

  • Learning to help take care of the healing surgical wound

  • Taking an active role in daily care

  • Going to rehabilitation sessions

Finding a peer counselor

Peer counselors can be a great resource. They are people who’ve had an amputation. They are willing to share their story. Talking to a person who’s been through an amputation can be a great help. Peer counselors can answer your questions about life after surgery. Ask your healthcare team to put you in touch with a peer counseling program in your area.

To learn more about limb loss and to get support, contact:

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