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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
One of the most traumatic injuries a person can sustain is amputation, or the accidental loss of a body part such as a finger, toe, arm, or leg. A complete amputation occurs when the extremity is totally severed from your body. In some partial amputation cases, soft tissue connection remains, which can allow parts to be reattached, especially if the severed part and stump are cared for properly. Complications, such as bleeding, shock, and infection, can occur when a body part has been amputated, but the long-term outcome for amputees has improved with advancements in early emergency treatment. In addition, new surgical techniques, early rehabilitation, prosthesis (praws-THEE-sihs) fitting, and new prosthesis design have also improved. In most cases, traumatic amputations result from working in a factory, on a farm or with power tools, or from automobile accidents. The degree of pain is not always related to the severity of the injury or the amount of bleeding, which may be minimal or severe, depending on the location and nature of the injury. If an amputation occurs, bleeding can be controlled by placing direct pressure to the injury, by elevating the injured area, and, if necessary, by using pressure point bleeding control. A severed body part can be saved by placing it in a sealed, plastic bag, and immersing it in icy cold water. In any amputation case, you should seek medical attention immediately.

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