Amputation

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Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for such problems. A special case is the congenital amputation, a congenital disorder, where foetal limbs have been cut off by constrictive bands. In some countries, amputation of the hands or feet is or was used as a form of punishment for people who committed crimes. Amputation has also been used as a tactic in war and acts of terrorism; it may also occur as a war injury. In some cultures and religions, minor amputations or mutilations are considered a ritual accomplishment. Unlike some non-mammalian animals (such as lizards that shed their tails, salamanders that can regrow many missing body parts, and hydras, flatworms, and starfish that can regrow entire bodies from small fragments), once removed, human extremities do not grow back, unlike portions of some organs, such as the liver. A transplant or a prosthesis are the only options for recovering the loss.

In many developed countries, diabetes is the major cause of amputation[citation needed]. In the US, the risk of losing a foot or leg is 15-40X higher for diabetics. And 80,000 lower limb amputations are performed in the US according to International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes leads to poor circulation which in turn leads to infection and gangrene.

There are some treatments that try to prevent amputation. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been found to be an effective way of revascularizing poor performing circulation, killing the anaerobic bacteria in diabetic ulcers and preventing amputation. The Circulator Boot is also effective in patients of diabetes and arteriosclerosis,[1] and in limb ulcers caused by peripheral vascular disease.[2]

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