Severe lower-limb trauma is a major event in a patient's life, and treatment is a challenge that has not been sufficiently studied. The main objective of the present study was to assess the difference in disability between amputees and patients who kept their leg after severe open lower-limb fracture.
The study hypothesis was that amputation allows better functional recovery and quality of life, in the same time-frame.
Materials and methods
All male and female patients aged over 18 years admitted to one of the trauma centers of Marseille (France) for major lower-limb trauma with Gustilo IIIb or IIIc fracture were included. Minimum follow-up was 2 years. Two groups were distinguished according to primary treatment: lower-limb salvage, or amputation. Rates of infection and of surgical revision, hospital stay, functional parameters (walking distance, standing, use of canes, running, jumping, driving, and physical and occupational activity) and quality of life (MOS SF-36 score) were compared between groups.
The conservative treatment group comprised 27 patients, and the amputation group 24. Rates of infection and of surgical revision and hospital stay were significantly lower in the amputation group (P<0.02). All functional parameters (except return to work) and overall quality of life were significantly better in the amputation group. There was no significant inter-group difference in MOS mental score.
In severe lower-limb trauma, amputation seems to give better functional and quality-of-life results. It did not, however, improve return to work, and was not better accepted psychologically than long and complex conservative management.
Level of evidence
IV, retrospective study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Amputation, Conservative treatment, Open fracture, Severity, Functional outcome, Disability, Quality of life, Complications, MOS SF-36, Lower limb