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Traumatic Amputation Injuries – Causes and Statistics

An amputation is defined as the surgical or traumatic separation of a limb or appendage from the body. It is estimated that one out of every 200 individuals in the United States has had an amputation of some form. However, traumatic amputations are unplanned and result from some type of accidental injury. At least 30,000 traumatic amputations occur in the US every year.

Causes of Traumatic Amputation

A traumatic amputation may involve any body part or extremity, including the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, ears. Statistically, the most common causes of accidental traumatic amputation injuries are as follows:

  1. Traffic accidents (including bicycles, trains, motorcycles)
  2. Workplace/factory/construction accidents
  3. Agricultural accidents (including lawnmowers)
  4. Firearm/explosives/fireworks accidents (includes military casualties)
  5. Electrocution accidents
  6. Ring traction accidents
  7. Building and car door accidents

Of the causes listed above, motor vehicle accidents are by far the most common cause of medically necessary traumatic amputations. Industrial and agricultural accidents rank close together as the number two and three leading causes.

11 Traumatic Amputation Statistics

  • Approximately 2,000,000 people live in the US with limb loss, nearly 25 percent of all amputations are due to traumatic accidents
  • 70 percent of all traumatic amputations involve the upper limbs
  • At least 600 children undergo lawnmower-related amputations each year in the US
  • About 22 percent of patients who had a lower limb amputated were readmitted to the hospital for complications within 30 days
  • The majority of traumatic amputation victims are between ages 15 and 40
  • Nearly 80 percent of accidental amputation victims are male
  • The most common traumatic amputation is partial hand amputation with loss of one or more fingers, at about 61,000 per year
  • The second most common form is the loss of one arm.
  • 60 percent of arm amputations are between ages 21 and 64; 10 percent are under 21 years of age
  • 10 percent of upper body amputations are of the wrist and hand.
  • 60 percent of total wrist and hand amputations are transradial, meaning that the amputation occurs below the elbow.


Limb Loss Resource Center 

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