Postoperative psychological and social rehabilitation of patients with limb amputations

Adrian Silaghi, Ioana Paunica, Daniela Gabriela Balan, Bogdan Socea, Ion G. Motofei, Constantin Vlad Denis


Mental health can be negatively affected during life to varying degrees, from minor indispositions created by daily debates, to major psycho-social traumas that have a significant and long-term impact. Physical injuries, especially those involving limb amputation, are probably the most traumatic and hard to accept events, as they cause severe biological, psychological and social damage to the individual. Losing a limb or part of a limb leads to significant physical disability, changes in physical appearance and self-esteem, difficulty returning to work and problems with social integration. Consequently, after an amputation operation, the patient's recovery must be approached with great care. Some of the patients adapt relatively easily to the new condition, while others successfully benefit from intensive recovery programs. Unfortunately, a small group of patients fail in post-operative recovery and some even believe that isolation/suicide could be a possible solution for their difficulties.

The psychological response/behavior of patients to limb amputations is dependent on many factors, such as: personality, level of education, social status, the environment and culture from which it originates, the support from society in terms of their integration, age, gender, the affected limb and extent of amputation, accessibility to different methods of recovery/prosthetics, etc. This complexity of the factors involved in the post-operative recovery period of the amputee patient causes the rehabilitation programs to be extremely elaborate on the one hand, but also highly personalized according to the individual characteristics, on the other hand. In this review, aspects of the psychological rehabilitation of patients undergoing limb amputation are presented and updated. It seems that such measures should be approached interdisciplinary with the patient and initiated even before surgery, if possible, to achieve the best possible results.


Clinical Psychology; Limb amputation; Psychological rehabilitation; Social rehabilitation.

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