Skip to content Skip to navigation menu

Information for upper limb amputees and their families

The most important goal of your entire treatment—from surgery to rehabilitation, to the fitting of your prosthesis—is to help you attain the most function and mobility possible, so you can lead an active life.

Your therapy team, which includes your doctors, therapists, prosthetists—and of course, you and your loved ones—will help you achieve the most independence possible. On average, this rehabilitation process takes between two to six months, although this can be affected by various factors, including your level of motivation and how well your prosthesis fits.

Recommendations with regard to your therapy and rehabilitation are provided below. However, the instructions from your rehabilitation team always take priority since this team is best able to evaluate your individual situation.

Before amputation
Whether you’ve known about your amputation surgery for a while, or just found out, remember that you’re not alone. Your treatment team is there to support you, answer question—and find the best solutions for you.
Patient gets information in a consultation.

Initial examinations

If you are to undergo planned amputation surgery, you will be examined in detail several times before the surgery. Your doctors will explain what will happen both during and after the operation. Of course, if you’ve had a traumatic accident, your conversations will occur after the surgery.

During these discussions, you have the opportunity to ask any questions which are important to you. It’s a good idea to take notes of what you want to ask the doctor before the discussions so that you don't forget anything. Remember that it’s their job to explain it all clearly to you.

Therapist showing rehabilitation exercise before the amputation.

Targeted preparation

If possible, you should begin doing those therapy exercises you’ll use after amputation surgery before your surgery takes place. That way you can prepare your muscles in advance and hopefully make your recovery that much easier on you.

Physichian talking to a patient during a psychological counseling.

Psychological support

An amputation is a big change in your life and it may be helpful to get psychological counseling. Counseling can help you work through any issues or fears you may have, while taking some of the weight off of your friends and family—and yourself.

Two women who both have undergone amputation surgery talking to each other and exchanging experience.

Talking to other amputees

We recommend that you talk with peers who have also undergone amputation surgery. It’s good to hear how others deal with the situation, and in many cases they’ll also be able to share tips on everything from using your prosthesis to getting the right fit. Talk to your therapy team about how best to get in contact with peer support groups. Or visit Amputee Coalition.

After amputation