Immediately following surgery the residual limb will be bandaged and may have a drain tube. Bandaging the stump helps in reducing the swelling that occurs after surgery.
In most cases, following lower limb surgery, you will be able to sit out of bed on the day after the operation.
Your physical rehabilitation will begin shortly after your operation. An occupational therapist or physiotherapist will assist you in transferring from a wheelchair and how to use mobility aids.
The nursing staff will dress the stump as required. If you go home with a dressing you must keep the wound dry and covered. The nurses will show you or a family member how to dress the wound at home. You must check for signs of infection and redress the wound daily.
Most amputations are closed with stitches (sutures) or staples. Some stiches are dissolvable and do not need to be removed. You will be advised on if/when the sutures need to be removed. Once the sutures are removed you can massage the scar and desensitise the skin on the stump.
During the hospital stay, staff will ensure that postoperative pain is controlled as best as possible. It is important for you to let staff know if you are having pain and to take medication as directed. People who have good pain control before and after an operation usually suffer less phantom and stump pain in the long term.
Some amputees require transfer to a rehabilitation unit for an inpatient program in order to maximize their independence.
Others undertake rehabilitation as an outpatient. Your discharge to home is planned when your medical condition is stable.