The Lee Spark NF Foundation logo



Amputation in the Treatment of Necrotising Fasciitis

Apr 6, 2024 | Awareness, Treatment | 0 comments

Necrotising fasciitis is a rare and life-threatening condition normally caused by a bacterial infection affecting the skin’s deeper layers, including the fascia and muscles. It spreads rapidly and can lead to tissue death and organ failure if left untreated. In some extreme cases, amputation becomes a necessary step to inhibit the spread of the infection. This post will explore the reasons, implications, and consequences of amputation in the treatment of necrotising fasciitis.

We’ll also be including some quotes from survivors and their families relating to amputation, so you can get a real understanding of what it means from their perspective – Some readers may find these quotes distressing.

The Role of Amputation in Treatment

When necrotising fasciitis attacks a particular part of the body, doctors initially attempt to save the area through surgical debridement, which involves removing the dead tissue. However, if the infection continues to spread and threatens the patient’s life, an amputation may be deemed necessary. The primary goal is to stop the spread of the condition and save the patient’s life, even if it means sacrificing a limb.

You can find out more about debridement in our article exploring its use in the treatment of necrotising fasciitis.

Around an hour later, one of the surgeons came out and told us that he was still in the theatre and that he was very very ill and that the infection was spreading as they were operating and that they would have to amputate.

Bryan Hodgson’s story

What happens in theatre

There will be a team of medical staff in theatre during debridement, including anaesthetists, nurses and often, as time is of the essence, two surgeons / plastic surgeons.

The aim is always to try to save the patient’s limb, but sometimes the difficult decision to amputate a leg or arm must be made. To do so, at least two consultants must agree on this course of treatment.

You can find out more about the role of the plastic surgeon in our article looking at the role of plastic surgery in the treatment of necrotising fasciitis.

Over the next 10 days I had many more trips to theatre for more debridement of the infected tissue on my leg…I was brought round, confused and unable to comprehend what I was told. My leg was so badly affected and in such a bad way that the doctors needed me to make the decision about what to do about it’s future. It was basically just bone between my knee and ankle.

Debbie’s story

Psychological Implications of Amputation

Losing a limb is a life-altering event. Patients often experience a wide range of emotions, including denial, anger, sadness, and anxiety. The psychological impact may also include body image issues and fear of rejection or stigmatization. It’s crucial for healthcare providers to recognize the potential psychological impact and provide appropriate mental health support, including therapy and counselling.

Life After Amputation: Adaptation and Rehabilitation

Life after an amputation can be challenging, but with appropriate rehabilitation and care, individuals can lead fulfilling lives. The rehabilitation process includes physical therapy to strengthen the body and improve balance and coordination. It also involves learning to use prosthetic limbs, if applicable. In addition, occupational therapy can help individuals learn new ways to perform daily tasks. Support from family, friends, and support groups can be a significant help in the adaptation to their new life.

UK Organisations that Help Amputees

Limbcare

Limbcare offers hope, advice and peer support to amputee and limb impaired individuals, their families and care professionals.

The Douglas Bader Foundation

The Douglas Bader Foundation exists to advance and promote the physical, mental and spiritual welfare of persons who are born without or have lost one or more limbs, are otherwise physically disabled or who suffer from a diagnosed mental illness.

Reach

Reach supports children with upper limb differences live life without limits.

The Limbless Association

The Limbless Association provide information and support to the limb-loss community. They aim to support people of all ages and backgrounds throughout their pre and post-amputation journey.

Steps

Steps is a national charity working for all those whose lives are affected by childhood lower limb conditions . Everything they do is about valuing and supporting individuals, families and carers affected by conditions which have an impact on the legs, hips or feet.

LimbPower

LimbPower support amputees, individuals with limb difference and their families to bridge the gap between hospital rehabilitation and community and school engagement to rebuild lives and improve physical, social and mental well-being.

The Katie Price Foundation

The Katie Price Foundation helps people with severe scars from a traumatic incident such as a road traffic accident, or people with scarring from Necrotising fasciitis with their physical and mental rehabilitation. They can also help family members or carers. They offer services that work alongside existing support networks like the NHS.

Conclusion

While amputation in the treatment of necrotising fasciitis is a drastic measure, it is sometimes the only option to save a patient’s life. The journey following an amputation is filled with physical and emotional challenges. However, with the right support and care, patients can regain independence and quality of life. As with any severe medical condition, early detection and treatment of necrotising fasciitis are vital, highlighting the need for awareness and education about this rare but dangerous condition.

Share now:

Our blog

Debridement in the treatment of necrotising fasciitis

Necrotising fasciitis is a rare and life-threatening condition normally caused by a bacterial infection affecting the skin's deeper layers, including the fascia and muscles. It spreads rapidly and can lead to tissue death and organ failure if left untreated. In this...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest