Removal of part or all of a body part enclosed by skin. For example, removal of part of a finger or an entire finger would be termed an amputation. Removal of an appendix, on the other hand, would not be termed amputation. A person who has undergone an amputation is called an amputee. Amputation usually takes place during surgery in a hospital operating room. It is performed to prevent the spread of gangrene as a complication of frostbite, injury, diabetes, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), or any other illness that impairs blood circulation. It is also performed to prevent the spread of bone cancer and to curtail loss of blood and infection in a person who has suffered severe, irreparable damage to a limb. When performing an amputation, surgeons generally cut above the diseased or injured area so that a portion of healthy tissue remains to cushion bone. Sometimes the location of a cut may depend in part on its suitability to be fitted with an artificial limb, or prosthesis. Amputation can also occur at an accident site, the scene of an animal attack, or a battlefield. History books often recount the story of Lord Uxbridge, a British cavalry officer who lost a leg in the Battle of Waterloo. After the traumatic event, Uxbridge—with a stiff upper lip—held a burial ceremony for his limb on the battlefield, then recounted the "obsequies" in a letter sent home to his wife. Herman Melville's great American novel, Moby Dick, tells the story of a sea captain, Ahab, who lost part of his leg when he was attacked by a great white whale. Ahab spends the rest of his life tracking down the whale to gain revenge—and ends up losing his life. Two other types of amputation are self-amputation, which occurs when a trapped person frees himself or herself by removing part or all of a body part, and congenital amputation, which occurs when a person is born without part or all of a body part. "Amputation" is derived from the Latin word "amputare" (to excise, to cut out).
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1. The cutting off of a limb or part of a limb, the breast, or other projecting part. 2. In dentistry, removal of the root of a tooth, or of the pulp, or of a nerve root or ganglion; a modifying adjective is therefore used (pulp a.; root a.). [L. amputatio, fr. am-puto, pp. -atus, to cut around, prune]
- A-E a. acronym for above-the-elbow a..
- A-K a. acronym for above-the-knee a..
- Alanson a. a circular a., the stump shaped like a cone.
- amnionic a. SYN: congenital a..
- aperiosteal a. a. with removal of periosteum from bone at the site of a..
- B-E a. acronym for below-the-elbow a..
- Bier a. osteoplastic a. of tibia and fibula.
- B-K a. acronym for below-the-knee a..
- bloodless a. a. in which, by means of a tourniquet, the escape of blood from the cut surfaces is minimal. SYN: dry a..
- Callander a. tenontoplastic a. through the femur at the knee. SYN: knee disarticulation a..
- Carden a. transcondylar a. of the leg, the femur is sawed through the condyles just above the articular surface.
- central a. a. in which the flaps are so united that the cicatrix runs across the end of the stump.
- cervical a. a. of the uterine cervix.
- Chopart a. a. through the midtarsal joint; i.e., between the tarsal navicular and the calcaneocuboid joints.
- cinematic a. SYN: cineplastic a..
- cineplastic a. a method of a. of an extremity whereby the muscles and tendons are so arranged in the stump that they are able to execute independent movements and to communicate motion to a specially constructed prosthetic apparatus. SYN: cinematic a., cineplastics, kineplastic a..
- circular a. a. performed by a circular incision through the skin, the muscles being similarly divided higher up, and the bone higher still. SYN: guillotine a., linear a..
- congenital a. [MIM*217100] a. produced in utero; attributed to the pressure of constricting bands (amniotic). SEE ALSO: a. (1). SYN: amnionic a., intrauterine a., spontaneous a. (1).
- a. in continuity a. through a segment of a limb, not at a joint.
- double flap a. a. in which a flap is cut from the soft parts on either side of the limb.
- dry a. SYN: bloodless a..
- Dupuytren a. a. of the arm at the shoulder joint.
- eccentric a. a. with the scar of the stump off-center. SYN: excentric a..
- elliptical a. circular a. in which the sweep of the knife is not exactly vertical to the axis of the limb, the outline of the cut surface being therefore elliptical.
- excentric a. SYN: eccentric a..
- Farabeuf a. 1. a. of the leg, the flap being large and on the outer side; 2. a. of the foot; disarticulation of the foot through the subtalar joint and the talo-navicular joint.
- flap a. an a. in which flaps of the muscular and cutaneous tissues are made to cover the end of the bone. SYN: flap operation (1).
- flapless a. an a. without any tissue to cover the stump
- forequarter a. a. of the arm with removal of the scapula and a portion of the clavicle. SYN: interscapulothoracic a..
- Gritti-Stokes a. supracondylar a. of the femur, the patella being preserved and applied to the end of the bone, its articular cartilage being removed so as to obtain union. SYN: Gritti operation.
- guillotine a. SYN: circular a..
- Guyon a. a. above the malleoli, a modification of Syme a..
- Hancock a. a. of the foot through the astragalus.
- Hey a. a. of the foot in front of the tarsometatarsal joint.
- hindquarter a. SYN: hemipelvectomy.
- immediate a. a. necessitated by irreparable injury to the limb, performed within 12 hours after the injury.
- intermediate a. an a. formerly performed during the period between trauma or incipient gangrene and suppuration. SYN: primary a..
- interscapulothoracic a. SYN: forequarter a..
- intrauterine a. SYN: congenital a..
- kineplastic a. SYN: cineplastic a..
- Kirk a. a. at the lower end of the femur, using the tendon of the quadriceps extensor to cover the end of the bone.
- Krukenberg a. a cineplastic a. at the carpus with the distal end of the forearm used to create a forklike stump between radius and ulna; especially valuable in the blind because the stump has proprioception.
- Le Fort a. a modification of Pirogoff a.; the calcaneus is sawed through horizontally instead of vertically so that the patient steps on the same part of the heel as before.
- linear a. SYN: circular a..
- Lisfranc a. a. of the foot at the tarsometatarsal joint, the sole being preserved to make the flap. SYN: Lisfranc operation.
- Mackenzie a. a modification of Syme a. at the ankle joint, the flap being taken from the inner side.
- major a. a. of the lower or upper extremity above the ankle or the wrist, respectively.
- Malgaigne a. SYN: subastragalar a..
- Mikulicz-Vladimiroff a. an osteoplastic resection of the foot in which the talus and calcaneus are excised, the anterior row of tarsal bones being united to the lower end of the tibia, the articular surfaces of both being removed; the lower end of the stump is therefore the anterior portion of the foot, the patient walking thereafter on tiptoe. SYN: Vladimiroff-Mikulicz a..
- minor a. a. of a hand or foot or any parts of either.
- multiple a. a. of two or more limbs or parts of limbs performed at the same operation.
- oblique a. a. in which the line of section through an extremity is at other than a right angle; this yields an oval appearance to the cut surface (hence sometimes, though rarely, referred to as an oval a.).
- osteoplastic a. an a., e.g., through the tarsus, in which the cut surface of another bone is brought in apposition with the one primarily divided so that the two unite, thus giving a better stump.
- pathologic a. a. necessitated by cancer or other disease of the limb and not by an injury.
- Pirogoff a. a. of the foot; the lower articular surfaces of the tibia and fibula are sawed through and the ends covered with a portion of the os calcis which has also been sawed through from above posteriorly downward and forward.
- primary a. SYN: intermediate a..
- pulp a. SYN: pulpotomy.
- quadruple a. a. of both arms and both legs.
- racket a. a circular or slightly oval a., in which a long incision is made in the axis of the limb.
- rectangular a. a. in which the flaps are fashioned in the shape of a rectangle.
- root a. surgical removal of one or more roots of a multirooted tooth, the remaining root canal(s) usually being treated endodontically. SYN: radectomy, radiectomy, radisectomy.
- secondary a. a. performed some time after a previous a. that has failed to heal satisfactorily.
- spontaneous a. 1. SYN: congenital a.. 2. a. as the result of a pathologic process rather than external trauma.
- Stokes a. a modification of the Gritti-Stokes a. in that the line of section of the femur is slightly higher.
- subastragalar a. a. of the foot in which only the astragalus is retained. SYN: Malgaigne a..
- subperiosteal a. a. in which the periosteum is stripped back from the bone and replaced afterward, forming a periosteal flap over the cut end.
- Syme a. a. of the foot at the ankle joint, the malleoli being sawed off, and a flap being made with the soft parts of the heel. SYN: Syme operation.
- tarsotibial a. a. through the ankle joint.
- transverse a. a. in which the line of section through the extremity is at right angles to the long axis.
- traumatic a. a. resulting from accidental or nonsurgical injury; may be complete or incomplete.
- Tripier a. a modification of Chopart a., in that a part of the calcaneus is also removed.
- Vladimiroff-Mikulicz a. SYN: Mikulicz-Vladimiroff a..

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the removal of a limb, part of a limb, or any other portion of the body (such as a breast or the rectum). The term is customarily modified by an adjective showing the particular type of amputation. Once a common operation in surgery, it is now usually performed only in cases of severe injury to limbs or, particularly in elderly people, when circulation to a limb is inadequate and gangrene develops. In planning an amputation the surgeon takes account of the patient's work and the type of artificial part (prosthesis) that will be fitted.

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am·pu·ta·tion (am″pu-taґshən) [L. amputare to cut off, or to prune] the removal of a limb or other appendage or outgrowth of the body.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • Amputation — Am pu*ta tion, n. [L. amputatio: cf. F. amputation.] The act of amputating; esp. the operation of cutting off a limb or projecting part of the body. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • amputation — (n.) 1610s, a cutting off of tree branches, a pruning, also operation of cutting off a limb, etc., of a body, from M.Fr. amputation or directly from L. amputationem (nom. amputatio), noun of action from pp. stem of amputare cut off, lop off; cut… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Amputatĭon — (v. lat.), Operation, welche Glieder des Körpers od. Theile derselben, auch die weibliche Brust, das männliche Glied, mittelst schneidender Werkzeuge entfernt (wenn es in Gelenken geschieht, Exarticulation), erst seit dem 16. Jahrh., wo man das… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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