Salvage is a word used to describe saving something that risks being totally lost, like shipwrecks or keepsakes after a natural disaster. It’s that final chance to rescue something valuable. Limb salvage surgery serves a similar purpose—a chance to save your feet from permanent damage or injury.
Last Chance for Saving
Limb salvage surgery is a type of procedure to save a limb from amputation. Typically it refers to limb care after removing a malignant tumor. A problem arises because removing a tumor leaves your limb without a significant section of tissue. The bone and soft tissues have to be reconstructed so that you retain the majority of your limb function and regain comfort. Otherwise, the limb is both uncomfortable and not properly functional, leaving it in danger for complications and other damage.
Diabetic limb salvage is similar, although instead of reconstructing a limb devastated by cancer, it is intended to stabilize and save feet damaged by diabetes. High blood sugar levels in the body weaken all the tissues in your lower limbs, as well as restrict your immune system. This combination of spiked glucose levels and impaired immune function leaves your feet vulnerable to ulcers and tissue breakdown that could lead to a foot collapse. If not caught early enough, the complications could require amputation. Salvaging the limb, however, can help you keep your foot.
What to Expect
Typically limb salvage surgery includes a couple stages. First, the cancerous tissue, and some of the surrounding healthy but contaminated bone or soft tissue, will have to be excised. Then the gap will need to be filled in with a graft of some kind. The gap may be closed with a prosthetic, transplant tissue, or a graft from your own body. After that, the wound will be closed and monitored as it heals.
Diabetic limb salvage is performed slightly differently. Typically it involves cleaning out and packing an open wound so that it doesn’t become infected. Better blood flow may need to be restored or promoted in the feet. Diabetic foot collapse may involve reconstructing the bones and holding them in place with metal plates, too.
Saving Your Feet
Although limb salvage surgery may sound a little scary, when it’s what stands between you and losing your foot, it’s actually a life-changing—and possibly saving—procedure. It’s not something undertaken lightly, either. Dr. Noah Levine will carefully evaluate your lower limbs to determine if this surgery option is the best for your situation. We’ll then work with your larger health team to save your foot and help rehabilitate it afterwards.
First, numerous tests and diagnostic images will help our team understand the extent of the problem and plan out the best ways to approach your procedure. Then we will remove and replace the damaged tissue, or deal with the diabetic wound, so your foot can begin healing. After that, your limb will be heavily monitored for infections. Once the wound has healed, which may take several weeks, you’ll begin rehabilitation. This slowly adds weight and pressure to the limb so that you build up to full strength and normal motion over time.
Limb salvage surgery could be the one thing that stands between you and an amputation or life-threatening infection. As nerve-wracking as that can be, our team at Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas are here to help you every step of the way. Make an appointment with us before the damage reaches the point that limb salvage is necessary. Use our website or just call (702) 839-2010 to contact us today.