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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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firstborn

Elective Amps, how to find a Doctor.

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Ok, so I would like to get a second opinion from a doctor who is experienced in amputations and dealing with someone who is considering an elective amputation. My current orthopedic doctor has only done a few amputations. I don't have the funding to see Dr.Ertl, as much as I would love to. I want someone who will listen to me and not judge me for wanting to have the procedure. My family and friends are trying to tell me that the phantom pain will be worse than the pain I have now. I think its their scare tatic. I have decided not to include my family in this decision, because they are making it impossible for me to move forward.

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First off, would your current ortho be willing to provide a referral for a second opinion with someone more experienced with amputations? Most doctors understand that patients want all the information available and try to accommodate second opinion requests. If you're in a fairly large city, there may also be an orthopedics practice you could contact and just ask if they have someone who specializes in amputations. Ditto for a vascular and/or plastic surgeon.

If you're in the U.S., the ACA (Amputee Coalition of America) may be able to offer some advice and direction...you can contact them through this link.

A local prosthetist and/or an amputee support group could be another resource.

Good luck in your search...and don't listen to friends or family about your pain prospects. Even if they, themselves, have lost a limb, there is no way to accurately compare one amputee's pain situation to another. If you've looked over any of the phantom pain topics here, for example, you'll see everything from people who unfortunately have severe phantoms to those who are virtually pain-free. Most of us seem to fall somewhere in the middle...I personally have very, very little pain, normally only if I've really "overdone it" on a given day.

The decision is yours alone to make...do whatever you have to in order to be able to feel confident in making it. :smile:

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The Ertls are the only experts in amputation that I'm aware of. If you've visited their website you'll find a list of Ertl approved doctors in other cities. Hopefully one is close to you. I've heard that a vascular surgeon does a much better amputation. I don't know why. Mine was done by an ortho doc.

I agree with Cheryl about visiting with an amputee support group in your area. The ACA can supply that information if you don't already have it. It would also be a good idea to visit a prosthetist first. He/she can enlighten you on the best level to amputate in order to utilize all the great technology we have at our disposal today.

I also agree with Cheryl that you may or may not experience phantom pains. I'm pretty sure you will in the beginning, but mine went away after I started using a prosthesis. They only return when I've been pretty rough on my leg.

Good luck.

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