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If the surgery is planned (versus as a result of an accident) your doctor will explain the procedure to you in detail prior to the surgery. Your doctor will also discuss with you whether you are a candidate for using a prosthesis after the surgery. If you will not be using a prosthesis, your doctor will discuss what method you will use for mobility.
After you have been given anesthesia, and the leg has been prepared for surgery, your doctor will make a transverse incision above your knee, and locate the main artery and the veins. The muscles are cut, and the arteries and veins tied off, leaving access to the femur (the thigh bone). Using a special saw, the femur is then cut. The muscles are sutured over the bone, and then covered by the remaining flaps of skin. These skin flaps are sutured together to form the end of the stump produced by the amputation.
As you will be under anesthesia, you will not feel pain during the surgery. However, you will experience pain during the postoperative period and recovery process. Your doctor will prescribe medication to alleviate the pain.
They will ask you to move your stump frequently to help stimulate circulation, and you will begin physical therapy as soon as possible—usually within 48 hours after surgery. Initially, the stump will be swollen, and it will take several weeks for the stump to shrink.
Depending on your age, physical strength, and condition, you may be fitted with a prosthesis after the stump has shrunk. If you do receive a prosthesis, you will undergo a long-term treatment plan of physical therapy to build strength and mobility.
Depending upon circulation in the remaining thigh, the stump will heal after an adequate recovery period from surgery. You may use either a wheelchair or prosthesis for mobility. If you are fitted for a prosthesis, and participate in physical therapy and rehabilitation, you will be able to walk with the prosthesis.