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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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The road to recovery and rehabilitation for injured Service members with limb loss: a focus on Iraq and Afghanistan


Isaacson, B.M., Weeks, S.R., Pasquina, P.F., Webster, J.B., Beck, J.P., Bloebaum, R.D



Publication Info:

United States Army Medical Department Journal, July-September:31-36


Amputation of an extremity due to traumatic injury or a vascular occlusive disease is a life-altering event that occurs when limb salvage is not possible. While an amputation is viewed as a life saving procedure clinically, limb deficiency may result in an immediate loss in social, physical and financial well-being for the patient. Military personnel returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom face unique challenges due to short residual limbs, unplanned amputations, high incidences of multiple limb loss, and accustomed activity levels prior to an amputation. The primary rehabilitation goal for these individuals is to provide them with an expedited recovery and progressive reintroduction into the civilian or active duty population. It is the purpose of this review to discuss the most frequent rehabilitation hardships service members endure following combat related trauma and future of prosthetic limb technology.

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