Forearm Amputations and Wrist Disarticulation

Information on Forearm Amputations and Wrist Disarticulation

Broken Arm FracturesUpper limb amputations are most commonly caused by accidents, infections, burns, tumors, disease, and/or birth conditions, with trauma and cancer being the leading cause. With a wrist disarticulation, the limb is amputated at the wrist, whereas with a forearm amputation (transradial), the amputation runs from the elbow to the wrist. These types of injuries can result from trying to block impact during a car accident or fall, or as the result of working with heavy machinery or under other dangerous conditions. Sometimes they result from infection or from other medical procedures.

If and when an upper limb is damaged by trauma or disease, medical professionals must then decide whether or not to undertake an amputation, with the eventual application of prosthesis, or whether function can be restored surgically. Typically, the doctor prioritizes reconstruction (if possible), prosthesis if necessary, and performs a major amputation only as a last resort. The goal for any amputation is to preserve as much length as possible, as rotation and strength are typically proportional to the length of the limb retained.

Every week, close to 3,000 people lose a limb. Hand injuries account for one-third of all injuries at work, as well as one-third of all chronic injuries, one-fourth of lost working time, and one-fifth of permanent disability. Transradial amputations make up 60% of all wrist and hand amputations. Still, more than half of all amputees report that they receive no educational materials from their medical professionals.

Procedures

Typically, a wrist disarticulation involves surgically separating the wrist and hand from the arm, where the radius and ulna are separated from the wrist bones, and the hand and wrist are then removed from the body. This particular procedure does not involve any bones being cut.

One type of procedure, Krukenburg’s amputation, is performed as a secondary procedure and converts a forearm amputation into radial and ulnar pincers.

Ongoing Issues

A significant portion of upper limb amputations result from work injuries, where disability benefits and workers’ compensation end up covering some, but not all, of the costs associated with the amputation. The victim must then confront the problem of how to return to work and lead a productive life after the injury and amputation, and whether any rehabilitative costs are involved.

After an amputation, a patient can also suffer from what is known as phantom limb, whereby they continue to feel sensation in the area where the limb was once located.

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If you have suffered as the result of a forearm amputation or wrist disarticulation, consulting an experienced personal injury attorney right away can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you and your family are covered after the injury. Contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation today. We are here to help.

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