Below-the-Knee Amputation

A below-the-knee amputation (BKA) is the surgical removal of the leg below the knee.

  • Call Your Doctor

    Call your doctor if any of these occur:

    • Increased swelling in the residual limb
    • Poorly fitting prosthesis
    • Pain that can't be controlled with the medication you've been given
    • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
    • Increasing redness, swelling, increasing pain, excess bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
    • Persistent nausea or vomiting
    • Increased symptoms of depression
    • New or persistent
      cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, rash, or other new symptoms

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    A below-the-knee amputation (BKA) is the surgical removal of the leg below the knee.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    An amputation below the knee may be done because of:

    • Poor blood flow that cannot be fixed

    • Tumors
    • Trauma
      or injury
    • Severe infection

  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • Poor healing of the amputation site that may require a higher level amputation
    • Skin breakdown at the residual limb
    • Infection
    • Decreased range of motion in the hip or knee
    • Phantom sensation
      —feeling that the amputated limb is still there
    • Phantom pain
      —feeling pain in the amputation area
    • Stump swelling
    • Bleeding
    • Reaction to anesthesia
    • Heart attack
    • Blood clots

    Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

    • Smoking
    • Drinking
    • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity