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Amputation of the Foot or Toe

We amputate toes, foot or part of a foot most often to:

  • Treat infections
  • Remove dead or damaged tissue, caused by gangrene or serious trauma 

About the Procedure

At UVA, we'll perform tests to evaluate blood circulation and to see if the bone is infected. 

Talk to your medical care provider about medication you're taking. You may need to adjust the dose or stop taking certain medicines.

Amputation Procedure

Your care team gives you IV fluids and antibiotics and washes your foot with an antibacterial solution. Your surgeon then makes an incision into the skin around the area and ties off the blood vessels with an electrical current to prevent bleeding.

Your surgeon removes any necessary bones and smooths the ends of the remaining bone(s). The remaining skin and muscle cover the open area, and your surgeon closes it with stitches and a sterile dressing.

If you have an active infection, we may drain fluids with a tube. In some cases, we may have to leave the skin open and packed with a moist dressing.

Possible Complications of Amputation

Possible complications could include:

  • Difficulty healing
  • Infection
  • Severe pain in the remaining tissue
  • Phantom limb pain (a painful sensation that the foot or toe is still there)
  • Continued spread of gangrene, requiring amputation of more areas of your foot, toes or leg
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve damage
  • Limp or trouble walking
  • Contracture deformity

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Infection
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Heart problems or high blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Kidney failure
  • Obesity
  • Advanced age

Make an Appointment

Call 434.243.3675.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Make an Appointment

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