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Volume 5 (2001), Issue 4, Pages 189-195

Quality of Life Implications as a Consequence of Surgery: Limb Salvage, Primary and Secondary Amputation

1Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TP, UK
2Department of Psychology, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
3Department of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TP, UK
4Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Woodlands, Birmingham B31 2AP, UK

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. We investigated self-reported quality of life (QoL), body image and daily competence of patients as a consequence of limb salvage surgery (LSS), primary or secondary amputation, and the views of patients following secondary amputation.

Patients. Patients (n=37) had all been treated for osteosarcoma or Ewing's sarcoma in the lower limb.

Methods. QoL was measured by questionnaire. A separate interview to determine satisfaction with decision-making was conducted with those treated for secondary amputation.

Results. For the total group, QoL was below that expected from population norms. There were no differences in QoL between those undergoing LSS surgery compared with amputation. However, LSS reported better daily competence and were less likely to use a walking aid. For the total group, body image and daily competence were associated with better QoL.

Discussion. All these patients are at risk of compromised QoL following surgery. Our data are in line with previous work suggesting outcomes may be better for LSS compared with amputation. Following secondary amputation, most patients (80%) did not regret initial LSS treatment, but felt that the time gained allowed them to come to terms with subsequent surgery.