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Hand amputation


Losing a hand or just a part of it can be devastating – no matter the cause of the amputation or the reason it is needed . W e know it can have such a profound impact on the way you or a loved one do things. But we also know from experience that hand amputation doesn’t have to prevent you doing all the things you enjoy.

At Shoosmiths, we’re here to help you get life back on the right track after a full or partial hand amputation. Find out what losing a hand or finger(s) could mean for you and explore what your options are. Ready to take the next step? Read on and discover more about all the support and choices that are available to you and your family.

What is hand amputation?

Hand amputation is the total or partial loss of your hand and/or finger(s). It could be the result of trauma caused by a road traffic accident or an accident at work, but hand amputation may also be the result of surgical intervention. You might experience this if a hand is severed or crushed to such an extent that it can’t be repaired and requires surgical removal.
Not all hand amputations are the same, however. There are two main levels:

In a wrist disarticulation, the entire hand below the wrist will be removed. The different types of partial hand amputation, meanwhile, can involve the loss of a fingertip, finger, thumb or portion of the hand. In rare instances, a person may experience bilateral hand amputation. This is when someone loses both hands (or parts of the hands).

No matter what type or level of amputation, it can have a major impact on your life and how you do things. Read more about the impact of hand amputation  – and how Shoosmiths can help.

What are the causes of hand amputation?

The amputation of a hand – either completely or in part – is rarely planned. Even if it’s the result of a surgical procedure, it’ll often be the last course of action that anyone wants to take. But that doesn’t make it any easier to come to terms with.

In a traumatic hand amputation, the loss of the hand and/or finger(s) is caused by the violent and sudden force of an accident. There are many situations when this can happen. It could be an accident at work or a road traffic accident.

A traumatic amputation can have serious consequences in the short term. It comes with the risk of shock, blood loss or infection. But rapid medical treatment can ensure it doesn’t end up being fatal.  In some cases, it’s even possible to reattach a hand or finger after an accident . This is a  procedure known as replantation – but must normally happen within the first few hours.

A surgical hand amputation can also follow an accident if an injury is so serious that removing part or all of the hand is the only way to prevent complications or relieve pain. Other reasons for the surgical removal of a hand include illnesses, infections and other medical conditions.

What does hand amputation surgery involve?

If you need to undergo hand amputation surgery, it’ll be done either under general, regional or local anaesthetic. The wound is then closed using the skin. In some cases, bones or tendons may need to be shortened. In some cases, additional surgery may be needed in order to help you get the most function possible after losing all or part of the hand.

It’s never easy to come to terms with the impact of losing a hand – whether it’s a total or partial amputation. No cause is better than the other. After all, the effects on you or a loved one will be the same. But it can be even harder to deal with if the cause is the fault of someone else.

How common is hand amputation?

Hand amputations are rare enough in the grand scheme of things. But this provides little comfort to those who lose all or part of a hand. And the numbers may be higher than you might think too.

In 2018-19, official figures show that English NHS hospitals handled 4,135 admissions and 4,282 finished consultant episodes (FCEs) for traumatic wrist and hand amputation. These numbers are, however, down 6.8% (admissions) and 6.6% (FCEs) on the previous year.

In terms of hand amputation surgery, there were 3,685 admissions and 3,540 FCEs in 2018-19 – a decrease of 2.3% and 2.6% compared to 2017-18 respectively.

By far the most common cases of amputation seen in English NHS hospitals involve the loss of a single finger. The traumatic or surgical removal of an entire hand accounted for less than 1% of FCEs and admissions across the 12 months.

What is the impact of a hand amputation?

We use our hands, thumbs and fingers continuously for a wide range of tasks. As we’re able to oppose the thumb to all four fingers, we can perform delicate and sensitive actions – as well as carrying out strong gripping and lifting functions.

We often use our thumbs, fingers and palms together. This is why losing even just one finger – or indeed a fingertip amputation – can have a significant effect on your day-to-day life. And it’s something that can’t be taken for granted. But it doesn’t mean you can’t do things you enjoy.

Our experience shows that, with the right support, hand amputation shouldn’t have to restrict your quality of life. We’re here to give you that support when you lose a hand or finger(s) and someone else is at fault. Find out more by calling 0370 086 8686 or by sending us a message.

What are the risks of hand amputation?

Like all other procedures, hand amputation surgery does have its risks. For people who lose a hand or finger(s), it’s possible you’ll experience pain or bleeding after the operation. You may also suffer “phantom limb” – where you may still have sensation in the part of the body removed.

But our links to medical specialists and support networks mean that we can help you deal with these risks in the short-term – as well as any others that may affect you in the years to come.

How can hand amputation affect someone?

It can be hard to imagine just how difficult doing even the simplest things would be if you lose a hand. Even the loss of a finger can have far greater consequences than you first realise. A hand amputation can affect all areas of someone’s life, including:

But a hand amputation shouldn’t be a barrier to doing activities you love – or feeling optimistic and confident about the future. We work with world-leading specialists in a wide range of fields to offer an integrated medical and technological approach. Prosthetics, care, physiotherapy and rehabilitation – our support is always in line with the needs that you and your loved ones have.

We can also provide support and guidance in wider areas – such as case management, benefits and financial planning. It means you can be sure of getting the best possible help in all parts of your life affected by hand amputation. Call 0370 086 8686 or send us a message to learn how.

How can Shoosmiths help?

Are you or a loved one coming to terms with the life-changing impact of a hand amputation? It can often be in the immediate aftermath when it seems most overwhelming – not least when it is the result of an unexpected accident that is caused by someone else.

At Shoosmiths our serious injury team can help and provide assistance to help you overcome the challenges and rebuild your life. We’ve helped many others in a similar position – and we’re here for you too.

You or a loved one can contact our specialist personal injury solicitors on 0370 086 8686 or by sending us a message. We’ll arrange an immediate visit, so we can discuss your situation and offer our expert help – including letting you know if you can make a claim for compensation.

Talk to us for free and in confidence.

You can also take a look at these other helpful links:



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2022

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