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Old 10-19-2011, 04:52 PM   #1
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Need insight on to amputate or not

My father who is 69 years old has had diagnosed diabetes for 17 years. He takes metaformin(sp?) daily (no needles).

Up until about 7 months ago all was fine. While in Florida in February he cut his foot. As a result of misdiagnosis, the cut turned into a diabetic ulcer. A nurse had been seeing him twice a week for months and said all was fine. Finally last week we took him to Emergency because of the pain. It was at this point the doctors said he has gangrene in his baby toe and the toe next to it. Initial best case prognosis was amputation below the knee.
Needless to say we were caught extremely off guard.

After a week of heavy antibiotics and pain killers, gangrene has now 'declared itself' to just the toes. Because there is no immediate life threat, there is no necessity for surgery according to the Dr's.

He is still in a lot of pain and they gave us 2 options:

1. We can wait for the 2 toes to 'auto-amputate' and manage the pain with medicine (if possible). At this point, I don't how this could work because he cannot put any weight on the area. We have no idea of if/when the pain will subside or if in the future he may need the below the knee amputation.
OR
2. Below the knee amputation now.

I asked why they couldn't just do the toes, and they said that this would risk the gangrene getting in the 'good' tissue. They prefer not to amputate at the ankle due to other future complications, hence the below the knee option.

We want what is best for him for both mobility and quality of life. He really has no other ailments to deal with now.
He wants to try the meds and wait on any surgery.

Anyone with a similar history / story that could provide some insight?

Thanks for any feedback.

 
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Old 10-19-2011, 04:56 PM   #2
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Re: Need insight on to amputate or not

I just recently had a femoral artery bypass on my leg. The blockage was discovered because I noticed a dead spot on my big toe. I had one doc talk about how it is often left to fall off on it's own. I would suspect that in the long run it's probably easier to just lose some toes, than to have the major operation. I am lucky in that with the improved blood flow my toe is healing. I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you that it is common enough to simply wait for the toes to fall off. As long as the infection doesn't spread.
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Last edited by Cora1003; 10-19-2011 at 04:57 PM.

 
Old 10-20-2011, 04:41 AM   #3
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Re: Need insight on to amputate or not

Thanks Cora,

How was your pain level? Was it excruciating initially then reduced at a later time?

Really, the only issue now is pain. How long will it last?

I agree with you. I would want amputation to be a 'life saving' measure, not an 'elective' measure to reduce pain.

Thanks again for your feedback.

 
Old 10-20-2011, 07:48 AM   #4
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Re: Need insight on to amputate or not

I had a lot of pain from the blocked artery, but that went away after a while. I don't actually have any pain (or much) in the toe. But that is healing. Sorry I can't be more help.
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