Traumatic amputation is the accidental severing of some or all of a body part. A complete amputation totally detaches a limb or appendage from the rest of the body. In a partial amputation, some soft tissue remains attached to the site. Traumatic amputation most often affects limbs and appendages like the arms, ears, feet, fingers, hands, legs, and nose. For service members, traumatic amputations usually result directly from military combat operations, as well as military equipment and motor vehicle accidents. There are various complications associated with accidental amputation of a body part; the most important of these are bleeding, shock, and infection.
The long-term outcome for amputees has improved due to better understanding of the management of traumatic amputation, early emergency and critical care management, new surgical techniques, early rehabilitation, and new prosthetic designs. New limb replantation or reattachment techniques have been moderately successful, but incomplete nerve regeneration remains a major limiting factor. Oftentimes the patient will have a better outcome from having a well-fitted, functional prosthesis, rather than a nonfunctional replanted limb.