One relatively universal functional goal after major lower-limb amputation is ambulation in a prosthesis. This retrospective, observational investigation sought to 1) determine what percentage of patients successfully walked in a prosthesis within 1 year after major limb amputation and 2) assess which patient factors might be associated with ambulation at an urban US tertiary-care hospital.


A retrospective medical record review was performed to identify consecutive patients undergoing major lower-limb amputation.


The overall rate of ambulation in a prosthesis was 29.94% (50.0% of those with unilateral below-the-knee amputation [BKA] and 20.0% of those with unilateral above-the-knee amputation [AKA]). In 24.81% of patients with unilateral BKA or AKA, a secondary surgical procedure of the amputation site was required. In those with unilateral BKA or AKA, statistically significant factors associated with ambulation included male sex (odds ratio [OR] = 2.50) and at least 6 months of outpatient follow-up (OR = 8.10), survival for at least 1 postoperative year (OR = 8.98), ambulatory preamputation (OR = 14.40), returned home after the amputation (OR = 6.12), and healing of the amputation primarily without a secondary surgical procedure (OR = 3.62). Those who had a history of dementia (OR = 0.00), a history of peripheral arterial disease (OR = 0.35), and a preamputation history of ipsilateral limb revascularization (OR = 0.14) were less likely to walk. We also observed that patients with a history of outpatient evaluation by a podiatric physician before major amputation were 2.63 times as likely to undergo BKA as opposed to AKA and were 2.90 times as likely to walk after these procedures.


These results add to the body of knowledge regarding outcomes after major amputation and could be useful in the education and consent of patients faced with major amputation.

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