The prospect of amputation can be immensely daunting.
When amputation results from illness, there is often a history of pain and a battle to save the limb. For accident victims, the first knowledge of this drastic change in their lives may be in the hospital as they come round from the anaesthetic. Either way, the loss of a limb can bring shock and grief.
However, modern medicine, surgery and rehabilitation procedures give amputees every chance of returning to a relatively normal life. We also live in a country that cares for those with disabilities.
For the amputee the toughest battle is often in the mind. The information provided in the Kia Kaha guide has been written to give both new amputees and those facing the prospect of losing a limb a guide to understanding their new state and preparing physically and mentally to cope.
The guide and this section of the website aren't intended to be encyclopaedias on amputation, or a substitute for the advice and support of health professionals, family and friends. But we hope they are a useful start...
If they aren't, we trust you will give us some feedback and let us know how we could improve it.
Amputees can experience a wide range of emotions after losing their limb. Many report that these feelings diminish over time, particularly when more independence and physical activity is regained. Read more about Dealing with your emotions
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of lower limb amputation in the world. Around 150 people in New Zealand will lose a limb due to diabetes each year. There are many resources available to help with managing diabetes. Read more about Diabetes management
Looking after your stump. Your stump presents an entirely new surface of the body to care for. This section has some hygiene guidelines to help you learn how to care for it. Read more about General health care
Your artificial limb is one of the keys for getting your life back to normal – or as normal as possible. It's important to work closely with your prosthetic team to develop an artificial limb that suits you. Read more about Living with your artificial limb
This section looks at understanding and coping with pain and sensations. Any surgical operation will be followed by a period of pain as the wound heals. Modern medicine provides many ways to help you cope with that pain until it subsides. Amputees can experience pains and sensations unique to them. Read more about Pain management
A change in weight (especially gaining weight) is one of the biggest problems amputees face in getting good performance and maximum comfort from their new artificial limb. Read more about Weight management