How to care for the amputation stump

The stump is the part of the limb that remains after amputation surgery, which can be done in cases of poor circulation in people with diabetes, tumors or trauma caused by accidents. Parts of the body that can be amputated include the fingers, hands, nose, ears, arms, legs or feet.

It is important to take some precautions to ensure correct healing of the stump, such as keeping the place always clean and dry, in addition to massaging it to improve blood circulation. The healing of the stump takes between 6 months to 1 year and the appearance of the scar improves with each passing day.

How to maintain stump hygiene

Stump hygiene must be done daily and must include the following steps:

  1. Wash the stump  with warm water and mild soap, at least once a day;
  2. Dry the skin  with a soft towel, without scraping the scar;
  3. Massage around the stump with moisturizing cream or sweet almond oil to improve circulation and skin flexibility.

It is also important to avoid using very hot water or passing chemicals on the skin, including alcohol, as they dry the skin, delay healing and promote the appearance of skin cracks.

In addition, and as some people are more likely to sweat, it is possible to wash the stump several times a day, morning and night, for example.

How to protect the stump after amputation

The stump must be protected after amputation with an elastic bandage or compression stockings appropriate to the size of the stump. To correctly apply the elastic bandage and bandage the stump, place the band from the most distant location  and end above the stump, avoiding tightening the bandage too much so as not to hinder blood circulation.

The compression bandages help to reduce the swelling of the limb and should be adjusted whenever they are loose, being normal, you need to replace the bandage up to 4 times a day. However, a good solution may be to use a compression stocking instead of a bandage, as it is more comfortable, comfortable and practical.

General care for amputated stump

In addition to hygiene care and bandaging, it is also important to have other precautions such as:

  • Keeping the stump always in a working position , that is, keeping the stump in the position where it would be normal to keep it before surgery;
  • Exercise the stump , making small movements every day several times a day to maintain good circulation;
  • Do not leave the stump hanging off the bed or crossed under the legs;
  • Sunbathing, to receive vitamin D and strengthen the bone and skin of the stump;
  • Avoid blows or injuries to avoid damaging the stump’s healing.

In addition to these precautions, eating a diet rich in healing foods, such as broccoli, strawberries or egg yolks, for example, and drinking plenty of water, are good tips for keeping skin and tissue cells hydrated and healthy, facilitating healing and preventing infections. Learn more about what food should be to facilitate healing .

When to go to the doctor

The person who has an amputated limb should go to the doctor when signs and symptoms such as:

  • Heat, swelling, itching or redness in the stump;
  • Leaving yellowish liquid through the scar;
  • Cold, gray or bluish skin;
  • Presence of red and swollen waters near the amputated site.

These signs can indicate a possible infection or indicate that the circulation of that region of the body is compromised, being necessary that the doctor evaluates the situation and adapts the treatment.

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