Leg or foot amputation - dressing change
You will need to change the dressing on your limb. This will help your stump heal and stay healthy.
Gather the supplies you will need to change your dressing, and place them on a clean work area. You will need:
Taking off the Old Dressing
Take off your old dressing only if your doctor has told you to. Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Rinse with warm water and dry with a clean towel.
Remove the elastic bandages from the stump, and set them aside. Put a clean towel under your leg before you take the old dressing off. Remove the tape. Unwind the outer wrap, or cut off the outer dressing with clean scissors.
Gently remove the dressing from the wound. If the dressing is stuck, wet it with warm tap water, wait 3 to 5 minutes for it to loosen, and remove it. Place the old dressing in the plastic bag.
Wash your hands again. Use soap and water on a gauze pad or a clean cloth to wash your wound. Start at one end of the wound and clean it to the other end. Be sure to wash away any drainage or dried blood. Do not scrub the wound hard.
Pat the wound gently with a dry gauze pad or a clean towel to dry it from one end to the other. Inspect the wound for redness, drainage, or swelling.
Placing the New Dressing
Cover the wound with the dressing. Put on the adaptic dressing first. Then follow with a gauze pad or ABD pad. Wrap with the gauze or Kling roll to hold the dressing in place. Put the dressing on lightly. Putting it on tightly can decrease blood flow to your wound and slow healing.
Tape the end of the dressing to hold it in place. Be sure to tape onto the dressing and not onto the skin. Put the elastic bandage on around the stump.
Clean up the work area and place the old dressing in the trash. Wash your hands.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor if:
Heck RK. General principles of amputations. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 9.
Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense. VA/DOD Clinical Practice Guideline for Management for Rehabilitation of Lower Limb Amputation. January 2008. Accessed May 26, 2010.
Review Date: 6/7/2012
Reviewed By: Dennis Ogiela, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.