Functional outcome of lower-limb amputees: a prospective descriptive study in a general hospital.
During a four-year period, 116 lower extremity amputee patients older than 65 years were evaluated and treated by our department. Fifty-nine patients with below-knee (BK) amputations, 22 with above-knee (AK) amputations, and 15 with bilateral amputations were fitted with prostheses and trained in their use. A follow-up study on all patients was done at an average of 22 months after they had completed their training program but not earlier than after 6 months. Of all BK amputees who had been fitted with a prosthesis, 73% were using it fulltime and as their main mode of locomotion; 25% were using it part of the time. The results were less favorable for AK and for bilateral amputee patients: 50% of AK amputees and 33% of the bilateral amputees had become fulltime users of their prostheses. Age alone was not a major determining factor in success or failure of prosthetic rehabilitation. Failures usually were due to concurrent medical disease or mental deterioration. The study indicates that the effort and expense of fitting and training geriatric patients with prostheses may be well worthwhile.