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Syme Amputation and Prosthetic Fitting Challenges

Philbin, Terrence M. DO1; DeLuccia, David M. CPO, LPO2; Nitsch, Richard F. CPO, LPO2; Maurus, Peter B. MD3

Techniques in Foot & Ankle Surgery: September 2007 - Volume 6 - Issue 3 - p 147-155
doi: 10.1097/BTF.0b013e31814255b9

Most commonly, Syme amputation is performed in patients with nonhealing diabetic foot ulcers and diabetic vascular disease. The procedure is favored by physicians and patients because it results in a limb that is nearly normal in length, is amenable to fitting with one of several prostheses, provides the potential for full end bearing, and allows patients to expend less energy when walking than in patients with a more proximal amputation. Recent results have shown the Syme procedure to have good results in patients who meet preoperative criteria, particularly for patients younger than 65 years and with an ankle-brachial index of less than 0.5. Access to an experienced prosthetist is essential, and barring complications, most patients can begin ambulating with a prosthesis as soon as 6 weeks postoperatively.

1Division of Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Surgery, Grant Medical Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health and Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center, Columbus, OH

2American Orthopedics, Inc., Columbus, OH

3Steindler Orthopedic Clinic, Iowa City, IA

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Terrence M. Philbin, DO, Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center, 6200 Cleveland Ave, Columbus, OH 43235. E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.