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Thread: Can a para have his legs amputated voluntarily?

  1. #1

    Can a para have his legs amputated voluntarily?

    My husband- t7, t8 complete has "joked" about having his legs amputated for the last six months. He's now ready to ask the doctor if this is a possibility.

    Here's his reasoning:
    Primarily because they just get tangled up and twisted up. They stick up crazy in the middle of the night (he sleeps on his stomach). They get caught on things when he's transferring.

    He's so insanely independent and feels like his legs are holding him back.

    Any thoughts? Please no bashers, I'm really asking this crazy question because he asked me too.

  2. #2
    bads idea. he will have zero balance w/ no legs rep
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  3. #3
    It does seem like a very extreme solution but I can kind of associate with the frustration he feels for his legs. Is he thinking of amputation of the complete leg or just the knee down? I agree with fuentejps with no legs at all his balance would be very precarious.
    Can't he find any other way to sleep so that his legs aren't such a hindrance? I have only one comfortable way of sleeping because of my legs and that involves pillows under my feet and under one knee. It's a hassle but it works. Maybe he could try other possibilities.
    I'm T4, 5ft10 with long legs - one will not go straight and the other will not bend completely so they sometimes annoy the hell out of me, added to that they spasm a lot, but in all honesty I have never ever contemplated having them chopped off. Maybe I'm too vain, I wouldn't like the stumps, but I think it's more the fact that I couldn't bring myself to undergo any more surgery than I absolutely have to. I mean supposing the stumps never healed properly (I know someone with a half leg amputation and his has never fully healed) - years of infection ahead. No, that's too much to risk in my opinion.
    Last edited by carbar; 11-11-2008 at 10:03 AM.

  4. #4
    T4/5 here and I have joked about that as well but I would never ever have it done. They can be a PITA sometimes but many other times they do help with transfers and perhaps with a cure some day they will be needed!

  5. #5
    My boyfriend had his right leg amputated due to bone infection and by the time he arrived at the hospital he was having nightmares where he was trying to crawl away from his leg and couldn't get away. He was so, so ready to have it off because of the pain and suffering. That was a year ago and while he is doing better because of the lack of infection and pain, he has had a much harder time than we ever imagined with body image. He tells me often that he feels like a freak.

    Given the chance, he would definitely make the same decision again (in fact he would have done it sooner), but if it comes to that just realize that there are emotional factors that are suprisingly strong.

    And as Fuentes commented - his balance was completely altered and has taken lots of work to get used to, and is still difficult sometimes.

    To answer your actual question though, I think you can find a doctor somewhere willing to do most anything.

  6. #6
    I have at a time felt like taking off my left foot. The ankle is crazy. It always turns, it hurts and it hinders me in my KAFOs. But it's still my foot, I kind of like it there. Then I know a member here who fights constantly to keep her foot and I feel bad for thinking that.
    I've never heard about it being done but I've had 4 people (obviously not educated to SCI) ask me why they didn't just cut them off give me some prosthetics and wouldn't that fix everything. Ah if only they knew.

  7. #7
    I would say don't do it unless you really dont ever believe he may be cured or even have a chance at new therapies.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kratos's Avatar
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    find him something to do, so that he can not ask crazy questions like that.

  9. #9

    I have never heard of amputation for that reason. I would recommend an evaluation of a large SCI center where a team of interdisciplinary team of physicians,surgeons, physiatrists, therapists and social services could look at all options.

    I agree that you might find a doctor who would be willing somewhere but please stay away from surgeons that do not have SCI experience due to the many problems faced in his situation as mentioned above.


  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    last house on the left
    I think this is too radical of a solution too. I think he would, ultimately, miss having a "matched set" and that balance issues would become more difficult.

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