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Is Above or Below the Knee Amputation Better?



Which is better, above or below the knee amputation?


Amputation below the knee is far preferable to amputation through or above the knee. This is true even for a person who wouldn't be doing much - or any - walking after amputation, since having an intact knee joint significantly improves mobility in the bed.

An above-knee amputee must expend considerably greater effort to walk with a prosthesis compared to a below-knee amputee walking with a prosthesis. And, despite the considerable advances which have been made in prosthetic componentry for above-knee amputees - particularly with the availability of microprocessor-controlled knee units - there really is no substitute for the structure and function of an intact knee joint.

Exceptions to the usual preference to keep the knee joint intact would include:

The specifics of each patient's unique situation should be discussed with each patient by his/her physicians, to determine what is best for them.

For more information:

Go to the Amputation health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University