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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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Kender

Ortho or vascular surgeon

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While doing research about amputation I ran across a site talking about how amputation is considered a failure and that because of that a lot of ortho's will push the amp over to a vascular surgeon. Is this accurate? How about for the Ertl? Would it be better for a vascular surgeon to do this or can the ortho handle connecting the arteries and veins individually?

Thanks

DJ

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An ortho did my amputation. He did a fine job. I wish I had had the Ertl procedure. I think I would have fewer problems now.

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An ortho did my amputation. He did a fine job. I wish I had had the Ertl procedure. I think I would have fewer problems now.

I would definitely go for the Ertl. I have to see if my doc is willing to look at the dvd and determine if he could preform the surgery. If not my insurance has 2 of the Ertl's in network, I would just need to drive about 16 hours to get to the closest. I would be an ak amp so the bonebridge isn't as important for stabilities sake but the benefits of closing off the ends of the bone, treatment of the nerves/veins/arteries/muscle, and shaping with prosthesis in mind are all no brainers. I just wasn't sure if an ortho would have enough training to stitch all the veins and arteries properly.

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Not sure about the States but in the UK most amputations are carried out by vascular surgeons.

You're right about the "failure" viewpoint. Ortho's are paid to fix bones and if they can't then they can't be very good at their job can they? (not my opinion but potentially that of the profession)

Vascular surgeons often have to carry out amputations due to complecations that are not recoverable such as diabetic ulscers and so are not seen as a failure. So, in the UK you're generally better off with a vascular team, having said that I had 2 amputations carried out by Ortho's. The first one was screwed up, the doc tried to save more bone than was worth saving and left me with compliactions that required revision surgery less than three months later. The second was carried out by an amputation specialist (David Ward of Kingston), because he specialises in amputations he knows the best length to make the stump to give the patient the best chance of recovery. He is also involved in the re-hab process and understands it a lot better than most.

I later found out that the surgeon that did the first amputation had never done a through knee amputation (or above knee) before me and thought that the more bone he saved the better off I would be.

I guess, despite what I've just said, the most important thing is to have the surgery carried out by someone who is VERY experienced in the procedure. Ask them as many questions as you can about your recovery plan, if they can't give you good answers then the chances are they don't deal with many amputation cases. If that's the case then I'd go elsewhere, it's your body and you have a right to decide who chops bits off.

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