A contemporary comparative analysis of immediate postoperative prosthesis placement following below-knee amputation

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Department of Surgery

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BACKGROUND: Despite advances in the treatment of peripheral arterial disease, a significant number of patients ultimately require major amputations. Traditionally, postoperative management of a below-knee amputation involves soft compressive dressings to allow for complete stump healing before initial prosthesis fitting. This technique is associated with a prolonged period of limited mobility, placing patients at risk for deconditioning or fall with a risk of injury to the stump. In contrast, immediate postoperative prosthesis (IPOP) placement allows patients to begin ambulation and rehabilitation on postoperative day 1, which may be of significant physiologic and psychological benefit. The purpose of this study is to compare the outcomes of patients undergoing IPOP placement to those of a historical control group managed with traditional soft compressive dressing placement.

METHODS: Medical records of all consecutive below-knee amputation patients who underwent IPOP (IPOP group; 37 patients, 2007-2010) and all patients who underwent traditional soft compressive dressing placement and were IPOP candidates (non-IPOP group; 35 patients, 2006-2007) were retrospectively reviewed. Patient comorbidities and preoperative ambulation status were compared between the IPOP and the non-IPOP groups. Primary outcomes evaluated included perioperative systemic complications, wound complications, need for surgical revision, and the time until placement of a definitive prosthesis. Data were analyzed using the chi-squared and Student's t-test.

RESULTS: Preoperative comorbidities and patient characteristics of the 2 groups were similar, although the IPOP group was younger (61.5 vs. 69.0 years; P=0.01). Immediate perioperative systemic complication rates were not significantly different between the 2 groups (IPOP 29.7% vs. non-IPOP 31.4%; P=0.876). Postoperative wound complication rates were as follows: wound infection (IPOP 18.9% vs. non-IPOP 25.0%; P=0.555), wound dehiscence (IPOP 29.7% vs. non-IPOP 25.0%; P=0.673), and skin breakdown separate from the incision (IPOP 18.9% vs. non-IPOP 3.6%; P=0.062). Patients in the IPOP group trended towards fewer postoperative falls (IPOP 10.8% vs. non-IPOP 21.4%; P=0.240). The need for revision was significantly greater in the non-IPOP group (IPOP 5.4% vs. non-IPOP 27.6%; P=0.013). The time from surgery to placement of the preparatory prosthesis was 51 days in the IPOP group.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients undergoing IPOP have similar perioperative systemic and wound complication rates compared to those patients undergoing conventional below-knee amputation, but are less likely to require surgical revision. The use of IPOP allows for early ambulation and rehabilitation, which may be of psychological benefit and may decrease the sequelae of prolonged immobilization. IPOP application should be considered for all appropriate candidates requiring below-knee amputation.

DOI of Published Version



Ali MM, Loretz L, Shea A, Poorvu E, Robinson WP, Schanzer A, Messina LM, Baril DT. A contemporary comparative analysis of immediate postoperative prosthesis placement following below-knee amputation. Ann Vasc Surg. 2013 Nov;27(8):1146-53. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2012.10.031. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Annals of vascular surgery

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