Factors contributing to delayed extremity amputation in burn patients

Charles J. Yowler, David W. Mozingo, John B. Ryan, Basil A. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: Previous series of traumatic amputations have noted that delay in amputation results in prolonged hospital stay and delayed rehabilitation. A series of major extremity amputations after burn injury was analyzed to identify the frequency of delayed amputation and to identify factors resulting in the delay. Methods: Chart review of burn admissions between January of 1991 and December of 1995. Results: Twenty-eight patients underwent a total of 44 major extremity amputations. Thirty-five amputations in 22 patients were performed by postburn day 16 (mean 4.3). Nine amputations in six patients were delayed beyond postburn day 26 (mean, 48.3). Delayed amputations occurred in the subgroups of deep thermal burns with extensive necrosis and thermal burns complicated by infections. Early amputation was associated with a 13.6% mortality rate, delayed amputation with a 50% mortality rate. Conclusion: There is a bimodal distribution of time to amputation determined by mechanism of injury, severity of burn, and infectious complications. Earlier identification of nonsalvageable limbs may decrease infections complications and improve the chances of patient survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-526
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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