The burden of post-traumatic amputations in a developing country – An epidemiological study from a level I trauma centre

Published:February 09, 2022DOI:


      • The burden of post-traumatic amputations is high, especially in developing countries.
      • Most common causes are road-traffic accidents and machine-cut injuries.
      • Young males are most affected in the productive years of their lives.
      • A delayed for more than 12 h after trauma increases the chances of revision surgery and prolongs hospital stay.



      With the rapidly growing population and expanding vehicle density on the roads, there has been an upsurge in road accidents in developing countries. Knowledge about the causes and patterns of trauma-related amputations helps in the formulation of strategies for limb savage, timely management, and effective rehabilitation.


      To study the epidemiology, demographic profile, and outcomes of post-trauma amputations at a level I tertiary care centre in North India.


      Retrospective evaluation of the amputee data from 1st January 2018 to 31st December 2019, focusing on demographic details, injury mechanisms, surgical delays, hospital stay, and complications.


      A total of 17,445 trauma cases were seen in our trauma centre during the study period. Of these, 442 patients (2.5%) underwent major limb amputation. The hospital-based prevalence of traumatic limb amputation was 2.5%. The mean age of the amputees was 35.6years (range 1–75), and the majority were males (n = 369, 83.5%). The lower to upper limb involvement ratio was 3:1 (n = 338:105). A road traffic accident was the most common mode of injury (77.4%), followed by machine-cut injuries (16.1%). On-site traumatic amputation was seen in 23.1% (n = 102), while 43.5% had a mangled limb amputated in the hospital (mean MESS score 9.53). Overall, 27% of cases had a vascular injury after trauma, ultimately ending in limb amputation. The in-hospital mortality was 2% (n = 9/442). 43.7% of patients with a single limb amputation were discharged within 48 h. Extended hospital stay was noted in cases with associated fractures in the other limbs (28.5%), head or facial injury (9.9%), and with or without a combination of chest, abdomen, pelvic, or spine injury (7.2%).


      A 2.5% incidence of post-trauma amputation reflects on the severity of injury related to road and industrial accidents which predominantly affect the lower limbs at the peak of productive work life. In the absence of national amputation registries, the results underscore the need to focus on road safety protocols, patient transfer methods, and the up-gradation of local hospitals.



      RTA (Road traffic accidents), MESS (Mangled Extremity Severity Score)
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