Types of Foot Amputations


It can be very scary to go through an injury or trauma that demands a medically necessary amputation. Part of the reason you might feel afraid is, you don’t know what to expect or what questions to ask your doctor.

Scheck & Siress specialists support patients like you in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana with the best quality care. We believe it is our duty to educate and train our patients on what to expect during pre-op and post-op. This commitment is why we’ve assembled this list of the most common types of foot amputations, as well as some additional information about what you can expect before, during, and after your surgery.

What Is a Hallux Amputation?

A hallux amputation is the partial or total removal of a person’s big toe. Typically, you’d undergo a hallux amputation for one of several reasons. For example, you might have undergone trauma or injury or your toe might be infected. Another occasion doctors recommend this procedure is when blood supply to a patient’s toe is reduced as a result of diabetes, frostbite, or vascular disease.

Chopart, Syme, and Boyd Amputations

Chopart amputation is a partial foot amputation that takes place at the midtarsal joint, at approximately the midportion of the foot. This surgery was named after François Chopart, a French surgeon who popularized this surgical approach because of its success and also because it essentially keeps the total length of the limb.

The Syme amputation is similar to a Chopart in that it is also a partial foot amputation. Both procedures allow a person to bear weight on the remaining part of the foot. However, the difference between the two is that in the Syme amputation, none of the tarsals are conserved and instead the procedure is performed through the ankle joint. In case of the Syme, the heel pad is preserved so that you can put weight on the leg.

The Boyd amputation is another relatively common partial foot amputation. It is similar to the Syme procedure, with the difference being that along with the heel pad, the Boyd amputation preserves the largest tarsal bone, called the calcaneus or heel bone.

Transmetatarsal Amputations

The metatarsals are the five bones that connect the toes to the midportion of the foot. A transmetatarsal amputation, or TMA, involves removing a part of the foot, including the metatarsals. TMA is often performed to treat osteomyelitis, a severe infection of the foot. Removing the infected part of the foot prevents the infection from spreading.

What Can You Expect Before, During, and After an Amputation?

close up of surgical tools used during an amputation

Image via Pixabay by domkarch

If your doctor recommended TMA or any of the other types of foot amputation, the following is what you can expect to happen before the procedure. You’ll be asked not to eat or drink anything 12 hours before the surgery, and you’ll be admitted into the hospital the night before. If you’re on any prescription medication, the attending doctor might okay a few sips of water. Your surgeon will likely have further instructions for your situation.

During the operation, your surgeon may request general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain. Depending on your surgery and conditions, it’s possible you could have spinal anesthesia instead to keep only your lower extremities numb. After the surgery, you’ll be transferred to a recovery room, where you’ll be observed for a few hours or overnight. Your surgeon will order antibiotics and painkillers and continue intravenous hydration.

Your wound should begin healing between four to eight weeks. If you have diabetes, this time frame could vary. Make sure you ask your doctor to give you details about how to care for your feet and limbs before and after surgery. After the wound completely heals, you can use a prosthetic.

At Scheck & Siress, we make it our mission to find solutions for improving and restoring your mobility. We provide custom-design and in-house fabrication of prosthetics, as well as connect you with a host of resources so you can take the best care of your device.

We also believe in creating a community for patients. We know from experience that getting emotional support from others with similar experiences is extremely valuable to the healing process. We would be honored if you allowed us to serve you and connect you with our peer network. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.