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Amputation

Weight Loss after Amputation of Leg

05/13/2011

Question:

My father is a 79 year old man who was in very good health (except for Type 2 Diabetes). He went in for a Right Total Knee Replacement and due to edema, poor circulation, infections and healing issues, 6 months later his right leg was amputated approximately 8" from the groin. When he went into the hospital originally he was 6`1" and weighed 215 pounds. We weighed him last night and he weighs 155 pounds. How much weight needs to be deducted for the amputated limb. Thanks!

Answer:

The weight of the amputated limb is dependent upon: 
1) the level of the amputation
2) the presence of additional medical problems, and 
3) the body type of the person. 

Individuals with a more muscular body type will have a heavier leg than those whose body is made up of more fatty tissue since this body type is less dense. Some types of severe swelling such as lymphedema will add a significant amount to the weight of the leg. 

In general the leg is approximately 9-10% of the weight of the entire body. In this case assuming no other significant medical issues, the weight of the entire leg would be around 15 pounds. A reasonable amount of weight for this level of amputation would be around 11 to 12 pounds for a person that weighs 155 pounds.

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Response by:

Joel  Mayerson, MD Joel Mayerson, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Orthopaedics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University