Team approach can aid in burn-related amputation recovery

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A speaker at the International African American Prosthetic and Orthotic Coalition Annual Meeting discussed how a multidisciplinary team approach can aid in the management of amputations resulting from severe burn injuries.

“After our pre-amputation evaluation of the injury, our immediate next goal is to maintain and restore as much function as possible in the limb through the amputation,” William L. Hickerson, MD, FACS, medical director of the Firefighters Burn Center in Memphis, chief of burn surgery in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee and professor of plastic surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, said.

William Hickerson

William Hickerson


After amputation, Hickerson said musculoskeletal complications, such as joint contracture, early degenerative joint disease, overuse injuries, abnormal gait, heterotopic ossification and residual limb pain, could occur. Dermatologic issues, including skin breakdown, abscess formation and hyperhidrosis could also take place.

“The way to address this is through a team approach,” Hickerson said. “While there will be unexpected barriers along the way, a multidisciplinary team can work together to solve them.”

He added, “Our goal is to prevent neuroma formation, joint contracture and all of these similar issues, but overall the goal is the pave the way to an early, healthy prosthetic fitting and allow the patient to return to their normal activities of daily living as soon as possible.” – by Shawn M. Carter



Hickerson W. Burn injury and amputations. Presented at: International African American Prosthetic and Orthotic Coalition Annual Meeting; May 19-21, 2016; Memphis, Tenn.

Disclosure: Hickerson reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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