Amputation Prevention Center

Amputation Prevention Center

What is an Amputation Prevention Center?

APC SEAL_colorAn Amputation Prevention Center is a specialized program, operating in conjunction with a Comprehensive Wound Healing Center, that treats patients with limb-threatening conditions such as diabetic foot ulcers/infections and peripheral arterial disease.

Diabetic foot complications are among the most complex to treat and require a coordinated, organized approach from a team of specialists with advanced training. The good news is up to 80% of amputations due to diabetic complications are preventable with an integrated approach to treatment.

When Should I Call the Amputation Prevention Center?

Time is of the essence when trying to save your limb.

Anytime you have a sore or wound on your lower extremity that concerns you, talk to your physician or contact an Amputation Prevention Center for an evaluation.

Contact your physician or the Amputation Prevention Center right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • A foot or leg ulcer that is red and/or swollen
  • An ulcer or skin surrounding an ulcer that has turned black
  • A leg or foot ulcer and you have had a previous amputation
  • You have been told you might need an amputation

If you have any of the above symptoms and also develop a fever or flu-like symptoms, you should go to the emergency room and then contact the Amputation Prevention Center for a follow-up appointment.

How Does a Chronic Wound Lead to Amputation?

Often complicated by underlying conditions, what seems like a simple wound on your foot or lower leg can turn into a significant problem. Lower extremity amputation is an unfortunate and often avoidable complication of diabetes. In fact, the majority of lower limb amputations are due to foot ulcers that are a result of complications from diabetes, including:

  • Neuropathy – loss of feeling in your feet
  • Poor circulation
  • Charcot foot – a deformity that forms in some patients with diabetes
  • Gangrene
  • Infections
  • Repetitive trauma – from ill-fitting shoes that cause redness, blisters and eventually sores

Ulcers develop in up to 25% of those with diabetes over their lifetime. The longer an ulcer remains open and unhealed, the more likely it is to become infected. Foot ulcers complicated by infection can often lead to an amputation.

What Can Our Amputation Prevention Center Patients Expect

An Amputation Prevention Center is led by a specialized team with advanced training in procedures to save patients from major amputations. During your first visit, our specialists will assess your condition and review your medical history. You may also need special tests that give us information about circulation and infection. This will help to determine what course of treatment you will need.

Once a treatment plan has been prescribed, you will be scheduled for weekly appointment at the Amputation Prevention Center. Keeping appointments and following directions are critical to attaining a positive healing outcome. Some things you can do to assist with your healing:

  • Follow all instructions as directed by the Amputation Prevention Center team
  • Take medications as directed
  • Return for your follow-up appointments
  • Keep regular appointments with your primary care physician while you are receiving treatment at the Amputation Prevention Center
  • Maintain a healthy blood sugar level

Following your treatment plan is the single most important factor in your healing.

Most treatments are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, HMOs and other private insurance.