Editorial Staff and Contributors
Surgical removal of a toe, foot, or part of a foot
Amputation is most often done to:
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an amputation, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
Before the surgery, your doctor may do some of the following:
Talk to the doctor about the medications you are taking. You may need to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
In the days leading up to your surgery:
Based on your surgery and general health, you may have:
You will be given IV fluids and antibiotics. Your foot will be washed with an antibacterial solution. The surgeon will make an incision into the skin around the area. The blood vessels will be tied off or sealed with an electrical current. This will prevent bleeding. The involved bones will be removed.
The ends of the remaining bone(s) will be smoothed. The remaining skin and muscle will be pulled over the open area. It will be closed with stitches. A sterile dressing will then be placed over the incision.
If there is an active infection, tubes may be left in place to allow fluids to drain. In some cases, the skin will not be closed but will instead be packed with a moist dressing.
You will be taken to a recovery room. There, you will be monitored for any negative effects from the surgery or anesthesia.
You will be given pain medicine. You may also receive more antibiotic medicines.
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. The area will be painful after the surgery. You will be given medication to help control the pain.
The usual length of stay is 2-7 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Diabetes Association
Canadian Diabetes Association
The Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Armstrong DG, Lavery LA. Diabetic foot ulcers:
prevention, diagnosis and classification. Am Fam Physician. 1998 Mar 15;57(6):1325-1332. Available at:
http://www.aafp.org/afp/980315ap/armstron.html. Accessed December 4, 2014.
Baima J, Trovato M, Hopkins M, deLateur B. Achieving Functional Ambulation in a Patient with Chopart Amputation.
American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 2008;87(6):510-513.
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Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
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