Rehabilitation experiences following major lower limb amputation due to complications of vascular disease: a UK qualitative study

Sarah Milosevic*, Heather Strange, Melanie Morgan, Graeme K Ambler, David Bosanquet, Cherry-Ann Waldron, Emma Thomas-Jones, Debbie Harris, Chris P Twine, Lucy Brookes-Howell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Rehabilitation experiences of lower limb amputees with poorer physical health have not been fully explored. This study aimed to qualitatively explore experiences of rehabilitation amongst patients who had recently undergone amputation due to complications of vascular disease.

Semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 14 patients participating in the PLACEMENT randomised controlled feasibility trial (ISRCTN: 85710690; EudraCT: 2016-003544-37), which investigated the effectiveness of using a perineural catheter for postoperative pain relief following major lower limb amputation. Framework analysis was used to identify key themes and compare participant data.

Three main themes and corresponding sub-themes were identified: (i) other patients as inspiration; (ii) other patients as competition; and (iii) imagined futures. Perceptions relating to other patients played a key role in rehabilitation, providing a source of motivation, support, and competition. Participants’ imagined futures were uncertain, and this was compounded by a lack of information and delays in equipment and/or adaptations.

Findings highlight the importance of fellow patients in supporting rehabilitation following lower limb amputation. Enabling contact with other patients should thus be a key consideration when planning rehabilitation. There is a clear unmet need for realistic information relating to post-amputation recovery, tailored to the needs of individual patients.

There is a clear unmet need for patient information on rehabilitation following major lower limb amputation.

Information about future mobility - particularly prosthesis use - should be realistic and individually tailored.

The key role of fellow patients should be fully considered when planning post-amputation rehabilitation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Early online date15 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Apr 2024

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