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Correlations with patients' perspectives of the result of lower-extremity amputation.

BACKGROUND: Patients' perceptions of the result of lower-extremity amputation vary widely, yet the factors associated with this variability are not well understood. Our objective was to identify important correlations with the perceived result that may help to indicate the factors that deserve particular emphasis in the management of patients who have had an amputation.

METHODS: In this retrospective study, 148 patients who had had a major lower-extremity amputation completed a standardized questionnaire designed to assess the demographic characteristics, comorbidities, amputation characteristics, prosthetic function, and social function at a mean of seven years after surgery. We correlated each of these variables with four result metrics: general satisfaction, quality of life, freedom from frustration, and walking distance.

RESULTS: The four result metrics were significantly and strongly correlated with (1) the comfort of the residual limb; (2) the condition of the contralateral limb; (3) the comfort, function, and appearance of the prosthesis; (4) social factors; and (5) the ability to exercise recreationally (p < 0.0001). Interestingly, the level and laterality of the amputation were not significantly correlated with the patients' perceived result.

CONCLUSIONS: The perceived result of amputation is not associated with the amount of the limb that was amputated but rather with factors that may be optimized by surgical, prosthetic, and social management.

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