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Skin Problems in an Amputee Clinic

Dudek, Nancy L. MD, MEd; Marks, Meridith B. MD, MEd; Marshall, Shawn C. MD, MSc(Epi)

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: May 2006 - Volume 85 - Issue 5 - p 424-429
doi: 10.1097/01.phm.0000214272.01147.5a
Research Article: Outcomes
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Dudek NL, Marks MB, Marshall SC: Skin problems in an amputee clinic. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2006;85:424–429.

Objective: To document the type and frequency of individual residual limb skin problems among patients using a lower extremity prosthesis, including the suggested etiology and management of each type of skin problem.

Design: This is a 6-yr retrospective chart review of skin lesions diagnosed in patients examined in an outpatient amputee clinic at a regional, referral rehabilitation hospital in Ottawa, Canada. Skin lesions were included if they were on a lower extremity residual limb for a patient who functionally used a prosthesis. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data.

Results: A total of 528 skin problems were documented in 337 lower extremity residual limbs. Ulcers, irritations, inclusion cysts, calluses, and verrucous hyperplasia were the five most common skin problems representing 79.5% of all documented skin disorders.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that a wide variety of dermatologic conditions occurred frequently in the lower extremity amputee who functionally used a prosthesis. Five types of skin problems accounted for nearly 80% of the skin lesions identified. Future studies are required to evaluate prevention and management of the most frequent skin problems.

From the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

All correspondence should be addressed to Nancy L. Dudek, MD, MEd, 505 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1H 8M2.

Supported by the: Canadian Institutes of Health Research–Burroughs Wellcome Fund Student Research Awards and Labatts Relay Research Fund.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.