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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum

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Hi All,

While watching the Ertl surgery DVD, they compared 2 men, one who had the traditional amputation and the 2nd who had the Ertl. The length in the leg is different....I was wondering if any knows how far down they cut for the Ertl and why so long and why do they cut less for the traditional?

Thanks!

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Which stump is longer? According to most prosthetists, a BK stump should be between 6-8 inches if there is a choice. I know of amps with shorter stumps than this who do quite well. You don't want a lot of redundant tissue at the end of the stump. This is unstable flesh that prostrudes beyond the bone. It serves no purpose. It will only give you problems down the road.

The longer the stump, the more leverage you have to control the prosthesis. With a stump that is too long you won't be able to use some of the more popular, active feet. Some of these feet do come in lower profile models. I have a friend who is bilateral BK. He originally lost only his feet. He chose to amputate higher a few years ago to take advantage of the newer technology in feet. Seems quite happy with his results. He also chose the Ertl method of amputation. He is an active father of 5.

I was shocked following my amputation. My only injury was in my heel. I expected a much longer stump. My stump is about 6 inches long and I can use all feet just barely. I also have great control over my prosthesis. It was the prosthetist who told me that this was an ideal length.

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Thanks Neal! On the Ertl surgery DVD, the man with the Ertl had the longer leg, and the guy with the traditional was shorter. I am wondering why the stumps are different in length? Why don't they do the same for either amputation?

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Mary, it's possible that they just happened to be the two amputees who were interested in appearing in the "comparison"...and for whatever reasons (medical, potential prosthetic use, opinions of their individual surgeons, etc.), they were amputated at two different heights. Neal's right that there is an "ideal" stump length for someone wanting to be able to make the most of using a prosthesis, but sometimes other issues come into play.

I know in my case, once I'd decided on amputation, I asked that they take "everything that carried the possibility of infection, but not one single inch more." That was a layman speaking, and my surgeon explained that he would indeed take off everything that showed any sign of infection, but if that left a limb that was too long to successfully use a modern prosthesis it would be advisable to take "a little extra." In his words, "We're aiming to get you to the most advantageous length for using a prosthesis." I agreed that this would be a good thing, and I wound up with a stump of almost eight inches, including a couple of inches of soft tissue. We're actually still working on seeing whether that soft tissue represents a "good thing" or a "potential problem," since it's the one thing on me that's still ever-so-slowly continuing to shrink.

At any rate, since it appears that your own problem is located in your partial foot, it ought to be possible to get you to a good, useful stump length to take advantage of the full range of prosthetic components out there.

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After watching the Ertl surgery dvd a 2nd time and talking to other Ertl amputees, there is a difference in length. The Ertl amputee has a longer length then a convential amputee.

Mary

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