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July 1985

Improved Results With Diabetic Below-Knee Amputations

Arch Surg. 1985;120(7):777-780. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1985.01390310015002

• This study of 100 consecutive below-knee amputations in 98 diabetic patients was undertaken to review our results and to compare them with a similar report of 20 years ago. Ninetythree limbs were ischemic, and 79% of the patients had significant infection. This finding was similar to that in our previous study group. Twenty-one percent of the patients had previous arterial reconstruction, 11% had had a toe or metatarsal amputation, and 17% required a guillotine (open) amputation to control sepsis. The below- to above-knee amputation ratio was 2.3/1. The selection of level was made on clinical grounds. None of the 100 amputations required revision to above-knee amputation. The mortality rate was 3% and the wound compllcation rate was 18%. Eighty-three percent of the patients were ambulatory at the time of discharge, which occurred at an average of 35 days. There has been a significant improvement in the number of successful below-knee amputations performed since our previous study. We attribute these results to aggressive surgical control of infection and to close follow-up with early recognition and treatment of healing problems.

(Arch Surg 1985;120:777-780)