In the study, “High Prevalence of Stump Dermatoses 38 Years or More After Amputation,” published in the November issue of Archives of Dermatology, researchers concluded that skin complications of the residual limb cause frequent morbidities and contribute to prosthesis abandonment, even more than 38 years after a major limb amputation. Their findings emphasize the persistent need for prevention, early management, and advanced treatment of skin disease in residual limbs.
According to the researchers, of the 247 participating Vietnam War veterans who participated in a cross-sectional health questionnaire, 119 (48.2 percent) reported at least one skin problem within the preceding year. The most common were skin breakdown (25.2 percent), rash (21.8 percent), and abrasion (21 percent). In addition, 25.2 percent experienced skin problems more than 50 percent of the time, and 37.1 percent had to alter or replace their prosthesis. These skin diseases limited or prevented prosthesis use in the preceding year for 55.6 percent and caused residual limb pain or discomfort in 61.5 percent.