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  • Double amputation?

    Hi, my wife has been a complete T 11/12 Paraplegic since 2000. Her feet & lower legs swell to twice their size constantly. We can keep the swelling down by constantly using hose and wrap.

    What she would like to do is have the legs removed below the knee, this in our opinion would take a lot of strain off her back and in her case, we think it would make her More mobile.

    Since she will not be walking she want have to worry about prosthetic legs (unless of course they come up with a cure)

    Her general prac doc doesnt want her to do it here in TN. She has a doc at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, who wants her to keep them in case theres ever a cure, which we all know is un-realistic.

    1) Other than a "cure for SCI" is there any reason she shouldnt do it?

    2) Complications? (She has a filter for clots)

    3) More or less mobility? (She can move her left hip somewhat even though shes a T11 and has a complete injurey. ie: her cord is torn in half)
    Last edited by toyz911; 07-28-2011, 07:42 PM.

  • #2
    not much info(age, other health complications, ect.) to really judge, but as a t-11/12, that sounds like the most ridiculous thing I've heard of. Sounds like she needs to exercise and become more active and that should help. many have a greenfield filter, that's no big deal.
    By the way, shouldn't put your e-mail adress in here. Mod will fix it if you don't.
    Last edited by jschism; 07-28-2011, 11:39 AM. Reason: add

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    • #3
      Double amp

      Why do you think its rediculous? Exercise is not the issue here, she wants to be more mobile and get rid of the dead weight.

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      • #4
        There's a spinal cord-injured yoga instructor named Matthew Sanford who has written a book about his experiences. Initially, he wanted to have both legs amputated so that he would not have to deal with lower extremities that wouldn't move at all, but his doctors at Mayo told him that he needed the weight of his legs for balance in his chair - the counterbalance of his legs also helps his spine to stay in a more upright position. I don't know if your wife's situation is similar to Matt's, but it sounds like something she might want to think about - especially since her doctor at Shepherd Center thinks that she ought to keep her legs.
        MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

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        • #5
          I had lost a lot of upper body strength after rotting in the hospital awaiting rehab. My legs were still huge, I worked as a truck mechanic lifting heavy wheels and components day in day out, along with lots of skate/snowboarding as well as motocross. Bed transfers and "leg management" as they called it were a bear at first. I brought up the idea of amputation and they explained to me that transfers would be even more difficult without the feet of my lifeless legs on the floor. Finally just got pissed off enough to start lifting these cocksuckers, the rest is history.

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          • #6
            I'm a T10 and my legs stopped swelling up when I started elevating
            them at night. Maybe she should try stacking pillows under them so
            they're slightly above her torso before cutting them off.

            I couldn't imagine how much more difficult things would be if I didn't
            have my legs to support me when I lean forward, transfer, pivot, etc.

            Originally posted by tooley View Post
            Finally just got pissed off enough to start lifting these cocksuckers, the rest is history.
            This made me laugh because it sounds exactly like something
            I'd say.

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            • #7
              We used to kid about doing this when we raced in race chairs. We envisioned how much faster we would be w/o that 25-50 pounds to push. We were just kidding however. Leg swelling may be the result of blood pooling indicating your wife's heart is not circulating blood adequately. Try getting into shape by either pushing distances or using hand crank, stationery bike, any exercise that places demands on the heart and stregthens the muscle. First, of course consult with your doctor to be sure your wife is well enough to tackle an exercise program. Being sedentary is the enemy of anyone w sci. I have found my legs tend to swell in winter if I am not working out adequately.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tooley View Post
                I had lost a lot of upper body strength after rotting in the hospital awaiting rehab. My legs were still huge, I worked as a truck mechanic lifting heavy wheels and components day in day out, along with lots of skate/snowboarding as well as motocross. Bed transfers and "leg management" as they called it were a bear at first. I brought up the idea of amputation and they explained to me that transfers would be even more difficult without the feet of my lifeless legs on the floor. Finally just got pissed off enough to start lifting these cocksuckers, the rest is history.
                well said tooley, in many ways a person uses their legs as a "pillar" to help support themselves during transfers.

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                • #9
                  There sure have been times I've wanted to lop them off! But they really do help a lot with transfers and chair balance. Also balance while sitting on the floor, riding horses, etc etc.

                  Lowering salt intake made my legs swell much much less. Those tight stockings can also work but they gave me pressure sores on my toes. I just use athletic socks.
                  Andrew

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                  • #10
                    You also need them for heat moderation. The quantity of blood in them help remove the heat from your core and brain. The volume of blood helps your system flush the toxins from you body. Balance in the chair. Look at amps chairs. They have to have the axle shoved way back.
                    Can she induce spasms to pump the blood? Exercise? FES?

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                    • #11
                      I have known at least three spinal cord injured people who had heir legs amputated at the knee for various problems. All had major balance problems when transferring and sitting. The lower legs act as ballast that help keep you upright even if you cannot control them. For me, medical necessity would be the only reason I would consider amputation. Also, they alter the center of gravity when in a wheelchair. The front has to be weighted down or the rear wheels have to be moved way back to keep from tipping backward. Without major adjustments, going up ramps is very dangerous, if not impossible.
                      You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
                      http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

                      See my personal webpage @
                      http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

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                      • #12
                        JustaDildo did this several years ago and as I recall, was very pleased with the outcome once he got adjusted to his new body, which was lighter to move about, shorter and required less space to transfer, and had a new center of gravity.

                        His post-surgery update.

                        He's still posting, so I'd message him and see if he's as satisfied now as he was back then.
                        It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

                        ~Julius Caesar

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                        • #13
                          Don't do it. I just spent like 6 years trying to keep mine as every surgeon seemed to want to cut them off because I had a non-healing wound on ONE foot!

                          Echo the balance ... I tell surgeons they're my 'kickstands' while transferring. How would she carry anything on her lap without her lower legs? Stumps will just splay out and lean downwards and probably lead to secondary pressure issues - IF they heal from surgery. Not a lot of people would have experience with paralyzed amputated limbs if you did run into trouble.

                          Advise her to put her feet up above her heart for a few hours in the afternoon to reduce swelling. Lower salt intake and stay away from carbonated and sugary drinks or any other foods that lead to inflammation. Whatever hours she is up is how long she must put her feet up in bed (for example, if I'm up in my chair for 12hrs, I make sure my feet are elevated for 12hrs ... I could get away with more when I was younger, but it's been 26yrs of paralysis today and I certainly can't get away with that anymore).

                          Constantly having your feet swelled will eventually lead to pressure sores that won't heal (because excess fluid from dependent edema builds up pressure and affects circulation and can lead to skin breakdown) and then she may not have a choice.

                          Sadly weight can have an effect on swelling too. I've put on a lot of weight over the past two years from not being active and being on bed-rest a lot - excess weight (fat) leads to more swelling in my experience. Does she have a weight problem?
                          Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

                          T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lynnifer View Post
                            Don't do it. I just spent like 6 years trying to keep mine as every surgeon seemed to want to cut them off because I had a non-healing wound on ONE foot!

                            Echo the balance ... I tell surgeons they're my 'kickstands' while transferring. How would she carry anything on her lap without her lower legs? Stumps will just splay out and lean downwards and probably lead to secondary pressure issues - IF they heal from surgery. Not a lot of people would have experience with paralyzed amputated limbs if you did run into trouble.

                            Advise her to put her feet up above her heart for a few hours in the afternoon to reduce swelling. Lower salt intake and stay away from carbonated and sugary drinks or any other foods that lead to inflammation. Whatever hours she is up is how long she must put her feet up in bed (for example, if I'm up in my chair for 12hrs, I make sure my feet are elevated for 12hrs ... I could get away with more when I was younger, but it's been 26yrs of paralysis today and I certainly can't get away with that anymore).

                            Constantly having your feet swelled will eventually lead to pressure sores that won't heal (because excess fluid from dependent edema builds up pressure and affects circulation and can lead to skin breakdown) and then she may not have a choice.

                            Sadly weight can have an effect on swelling too. I've put on a lot of weight over the past two years from not being active and being on bed-rest a lot - excess weight (fat) leads to more swelling in my experience. Does she have a weight problem?
                            Happy 26th

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                            • #15
                              Doubt this is a serious question. Under the OPs information sex is listed as female but 'she' is asking about a wife's legs...
                              Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

                              Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

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