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Levels of amputation

Amputations can be carried out at different levels on a limb, depending on the reason for the surgery. The “level” or “site” of an amputation is its exact position on the affected limb. The amputation level matters because it affects the residual limb’s functional ability, strength and mobility. For example, a residual limb that is very short will probably have less power and be less able to control the prosthetic leg.

On the other hand, a residual limb that is very long may complicate matters in other areas, such as the availability of suitable prosthetic components. But here we can only generalise. Your doctor will consider every aspect of your unique case and ultimately select the right level based on what is the best for your health.

Levels of amputation

A. Residual limb: the portion of a limb remaining after an amputation, sometimes called the “stump”.
B. Transfemoral amputation: amputation through the thigh bone, between the hip and the knee, sometimes also called “above knee”.
C. Knee disarticulation: amputation through the knee.
D. Transtibial amputation: amputation through the calf and shin bones, between the knee and the ankle, sometimes also called “below knee”.


E. Ankle disarticulation: amputation through the ankle.
F. Transmetatarsal amputation: amputation through the forefoot.
G. Bilateral amputation: amputation of both legs.