Above Knee Amputation

Above Knee Amputation

Above Knee Amputation

What it means to be an Above knee amputee

You have lost your foot, ankle joint and knee joint however you still have your hip joint. More energy will now be required to mobilise than below knee amputee, however the functioning hip joint and femur will help drive the prosthesis. The longer the femur the better in this case, as it serves a longer lever for better propulsion. There are a few more components needed than a below knee amputee so your main components that will be required are a comfortable socket, a suitable prosthetic knee and a prosthetic foot.

The need for transfemoral amputation is caused by conditions including

  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Infection/gangrene
  • Trauma, causing the lower leg to be crushed or severed
  •  Tumor/cancer

What is an Above-Knee Amputation?

Transfemoral (through the femur/above knee) amputation can be a surgical procedure performed to remove the lower limb above the knee joint due to trauma, disease, or congenital defect. Trauma can also be the cause for amputation. Most transfemoral amputations are performed due to peripheral vascular disease (a complication of diabetes), or severe circulatory diseases in the lower limb. Poor circulation limits healing and immune responses to injury. Foot or leg ulcers may develop, and they may become infected. As a result of the infection which may spread to the bone and become severe enough to be life-threatening.

The amputation is then performed to remove the diseased tissue and prevent further spread of infection. Transfemoral amputations are performed when the blood flow is inadequate in the lower leg or infection is so severe it prohibits a lower-level (below the knee) surgery.

If a transfemoral surgery is necessary, it is usually performed by a vascular or orthopedic surgeon. The diseased or severely injured part of the limb will be removed, keeping as much of the healthy tissue and bone as possible. The surgeon shapes the remaining limb to allow the best use of a prosthetic leg after recovery. The longer the length of the residual healthy tissue and bone the longer the lever is to help propel the prosthesis the better. A shorter residuum requires more energy to propel the prosthesis.

The Transfemoral Prosthetic socket

A Transfemoral socket is custom made according to the shape and size of the residual limb and is the most important part of the prosthesis as it interacts with the residual limb to ensure comfort and function. 

The prosthesis is suspended by various methods that will be discussed during the assessment consultation. The main suspension methods use a silicone liner with either a vacuum or pin lock.

Each socket design is unique to the user, we generally use a method where we use the skeletal ischium(sitting bone) We use for our fitting a combination of Targeted Weight Bearing Areas as well as Hydrostatic suspension. This will vary depending on what needs to be done for each individual socket fitting.

This is essential as the residual limb generally varies in size especially for a primary (first time) prosthetic wearer. For the more experienced amputee this guarantee allows the individual the time and security to ensure the socket fits the way they know it should fit and feel. During this time there is no cost for any consultations or modification that we make to the socket and the client can come in as often as they need. 

The prosthetic knee joint allows both flexion and extension and varies in function depending on which knee you and your prosthetist choose to use. Our prosthetists are experienced in using a wide range of knee joints and we are manufacturer certified to fit high end components including the X3, Genium, C-leg and Rheo Knee joint.

A variety of feet with varying properties can be used with this type of prosthesis and this will be selected by you and your prosthetist.

Chin & Partners Benefits

Conveniently located

We have four practices across Cape Town and cater to international patients as well

Licensed Professionals

Our healthcare professionals provide the highest quality care and are fully licensed

A Solution For All

We provide cost-effective solutions for all prosthesis, orthotics, mobility and bracing

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Other Services

    • Mobility


      Find out more about Chin & Partners’ mobility services and solutions

    • Below Knee Amputation

      Below Knee Amputation

      Find out more about Chin & Partners’ below-knee amputation services and solutions

    • Orthotics


      Our goal is to provide a patient-centered medical home for all patients