Pain, Function Key Factors in Elective Amputation Decision

Satisfaction with outcome linked to patient's expectation of life after amputation

MONDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with a functionally impaired lower limb, the decision to opt for elective amputation is largely influenced by the severity of pain and desire for improved function, according to a study published in the Nov. 16 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Deanna L. Quon, M.D., from Ottawa Hospital in Canada, and colleagues investigated the key factors affecting the decision-making process in patients with a functionally impaired lower limb who choose to undergo an elective amputation. Audio recorded one-on-one semi-structured interviews of participants were transcribed, and triangulation was provided by three researchers based on the narrative analysis. Personal factors in the decision-making process and recurrent key themes and patterns were identified and described.

The investigators found that the decision-making process was most heavily influenced by pain, function, and participation, with little impact from factors such as body image, self identity, and others' opinions. The extent to which the patient's expectation matched the surgical results correlated with the level of satisfaction from the surgical outcomes. Patients who had more realistic expectations about living with an amputation were the ones who were better informed prior to surgery.

"The key factors in the decision to undergo an elective amputation are the presence of pain and the desire for improved function. Satisfaction with the outcome after an amputation is linked to patients' expectations regarding life with an amputation," the authors write.

One or more of the study authors received payments or services from a third party in support of this work.

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