Better Psychological Planning Needed Prior to Amputation Surgery

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A study by the American Psychological Association (APA) examined the influence of demographic characteristics, psychological reactions, functionality, coping strategies, and social support on psychosocial adjustment to lower-limb amputation ten months following surgery. Results of this longitudinal study supported the need to improve psychological screening and early treatment of anxiety symptoms before the surgery, as well as depression and traumatic stress symptoms after a lower limb amputation, and the promotion of social support over time, in order to promote psychosocial adjustment to amputation.

Of an initial referral of 206 Portuguese patients, a sample of 86 patients who underwent a lower-limb amputation due to type 2 diabetes were evaluated during the hospitalization that preceded surgery, at inpatient follow-up consultations one, six, and ten months after surgery.

Researchers found that patients with higher levels of anxiety symptoms and functionality at pre-surgery were associated with lower social adjustment to amputation and with higher adjustment to the limitations, respectively. Traumatic stress symptoms were negatively associated with general and social adjustment, and with the adjustment to the limitations, the study found. Perceived social support mediated the relationship between traumatic stress symptoms and adjustment to the limitations.

Men were associated with a higher anxiety and depression symptoms and with a higher level of functionality, the study found. Men were also associated with functionality at pre-surgery and post-surgery, and with anxiety and depression symptoms of pre-surgery.

The article was published online in August in APA Psychnet.