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Considering leg amputation for easier caregiving/ costs

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  • Considering leg amputation for easier caregiving/ costs

    My caregiving costs are paralyzing us financially, as a c4.5 there's no way I can get around not having assistance. My wife can't physically move me about, despite my fairly light frame: weighing in at approx 125lbs, it's just my height. That's when I got to thinking, maybe I can make this easier for her by having my legs amputated. Based on what I read, we're not going to be cured in our lifetime, our legs are our new tonsils. I'd be infinitely more easier to care for without my useless legs dragging about. Just a thought, albeit unpleasant one, but practical. What's involved in accomplishing this ? Would it be wrong?

  • #2
    I don't think you could find a dr who would do it.


    • #3
      I had a friend many years ago who was a high para with diabetes. He had to have his legs amputated because of the diabetic disease. When his legs were amputated, it completely altered the way he sat in the wheelchair and caused a lot of pressure problems from which he ultimately succumbed.

      It would be abundantly better for you and your wife if you would explore alternative ways to move you, i.e., lifts, hire stronger caregivers etc. for the heavy lifting.

      All the best,
      Last edited by gjnl; 11-21-2014, 02:09 PM.


      • #4
        I had a patient who was a paraplegic and very active with skiing. He was a very aggressive skier and fractured his legs many times. He came to me and the physician I worked with and asked that his legs be amputated because "they were in the way". We were taken aback by the request but told him that no orthopedic surgeon at our facility would do it. He found an orthopedic surgeon who performed the surgery, but I think it took awhile to find one.

        I don't think this is a viable option for you to pursue, any amputation does change your seating in your wheelchair. You have no physical problems with your legs or your circulation. It is a major surgery and you would be at risk for infection and wounds post op. You would need new equipment to accommodate the amputation.

        Even if you wanted your tonsils out, there would have to be a physical problem = good reason to remove them.

        Honestly, you sound a bit depressed. It would be good for you to seek out a knowledgeable therapist or social worker who knows how to counsel people who live with a spinal cord injury. I wish you the best in moving forward.

        Last edited by SCI-Nurse; 11-21-2014, 10:51 AM. Reason: edited sentence
        The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


        • #5
          It seems like you need to exam your lift systems. How do your caregivers lift you and when and where do you need to be lifted?
          You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @

          See my personal webpage @


          • #6
            Tim C
            Please consider contacting one of the several centers for independent living in New York state. These centers are staffed by disabled persons and they should know of resources that may help you. If possible make an appointment and GO THERE IN PERSON. Reach out for reasonable solutions. I'm sorry but your idea is so troubling as you can see by the responses. However, your concerns for attendant care are the focus, not cutting off part of your body.
            Hope you work on this and let us at CareCure know what develops. You may help many others too.


            • #7
              get a ceiling lift system for a few thousand and save everyone, incl. yourself


              • #8
                On another forum the c5 below had his legs (voluntarily) amputated.



                Drop him a message if you have any questions and hopefully you'll get a reply.


                • #9
                  I am in no position to tell you anything Tim. Especially since I am a caregiver and not a patient myself but please, reconsider this. I would have never agreed for my wife to do something like that. It sounds like a solution but it may be a cause of another problems and pain both physical and psychical. They won't grow back you know and you can't be sure what future brings. Often the breakthrough in science is just rapid or accidental. I keep my fingers crossed it happened. Please, reconsider.


                  • #10
                    I have gotten along for a long time using a lift. My current one is a Liko Light we can use for traveling.

                    "Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups." Exasperated 20:12


                    • #11
                      A CC member from Colorado had his amputated as he said they were useless and weighing him down. I cannot say it is right or wrong. I know I want to keep what I have, even those parts that don't work at all. It is understandable you are concerned about the costs of care you and your family are experiencing. Amputation is not a guarantee of lower costs. Should you experience a complication (re: infection), it could a more costly decision. Before you head for a surgeon's office, you might talk to your area CIL and re-think your options for care. Are you utilizing a lift like a Hoyer? Whatever you decide, I wish you the best.


                      • #12
                        The legs, even when paralyzed provide a source of balance. It's something related to physics. You will fall every which way without them. I know I would. If you don't have any gangrene type infections or other major complications, I vote for keeping them.