patient receiving wound care evaluation from doctor while sitting on chair

What is Limb Preservation vs. Amputation?

The choice between limb preservation and amputation can reshape the trajectory of one’s life. It’s a pivotal decision where a patient must lean on the recommendations of their doctors and loved ones. Unfortunately, there are many times when amputation could actually be prevented, but some doctors still recommend it as the most viable option.

Our goal at Limb Preservation Center of East Tennessee is to change this narrative and help patients understand all of their options before making the decision to amputate. Dr. Heather Hutchings and our entire team strive to avoid amputation and help wounded patients achieve the quality of life they deserve. That’s what limb preservation is all about – addressing the root causes of limb-threatening conditions and providing advanced treatment options to heal.

What is Amputation?

Amputation is a medical procedure involving the removal of a limb or extremity. This is a measure taken when all other options for preserving the limb have been exhausted and the limb’s condition poses severe threats to the patient’s overall health and well-being. 

While often seen as a last resort, amputation requires careful consideration of various factors, including:

  • The patient’s health status
  • The severity of the condition
  • Potential complications
amputee sitting in chair with prosthetic leg

How Common are Amputations in Modern Medicine?

Contrary to common perceptions, amputations remain prevalent in modern medicine, with over 185,000 procedures performed annually in the United States alone. Causes range from cancer and trauma to vascular diseases like diabetes.

Can a Diabetic Wound Be Curable Without Amputation?

Amputation is often associated with diabetic wounds, which typically appear on the feet. Diabetic ulcers are known for healing very slowly, and in the worst cases, not at all. This unfortunately can lead to foot or limb loss. However, the earlier you begin treating a diabetic wound, the better chances you have to preserve your limbs and fully heal. 

If amputation seems like your only option for a diabetic ulcer or other wound, book an appointment with us at Limb Preservation Center of East Tennessee. Led by Wound Care Specialist Dr. Heather Hutchings, D.O., our expert team provides hope to patients with advanced limb preservation techniques. We’re here to discover the root cause of your wound and provide above-and-beyond care that enhances your quality of life.

Request an Appointment with Heather Hutchings, D.O.

What is Limb Preservation?

Limb preservation is a specialized healthcare approach focused on preventing amputation. It employs a multidisciplinary strategy, involving specialists in vascular surgery, podiatry, infectious disease management, and wound care. The primary objective is not only to save the limb but also to improve the patient’s overall health and well-being.

Collaborative efforts among medical professionals is key to create a tailored treatment plan and avoid amputation. At Limb Preservation of East Tennessee, we partner with local vascular surgeons, podiatrists, and orthotists/pedorthists to provide holistic limb preservation and wound care.

Limb Preservation Techniques

Unlike the irreversible nature of amputation, limb preservation leverages a range of strategies to combat underlying issues, including advanced wound care techniques like:

  • Skin grafts/skin substitutes
  • Specialized wound dressings and topical treatments
  • Wound debridement
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy 
  • Offloading
  • Negative pressure therapy

Skin Grafts/Skin Substitutes

Tissue derived from various sources including amniotic membrane, porcine intestine, and bovine intestine that are used to help facilitate wound healing.

Specialized Wound Dressings and Topical Treatments

Wound dressings are materials applied directly to a wound or injury site to facilitate healing, provide protection, and prevent infection. They come in various forms and application types   tailored to specific wound types and stages of healing.

Wound Debridement

Wound debridement is a medical procedure involving the removal of infected or dead skin from a wound. This process promotes a healthier wound environment, accelerates healing, and reduces the risk of infection.

patient entering hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is an advanced medical treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. This elevated oxygen level in the bloodstream enhances the body’s natural healing processes, particularly beneficial for non-healing wounds, infections, and radiation burns.


Offloading is a strategy aimed at relieving pressure on wounds like diabetic ulcers. This technique helps alleviate stress on the affected area, promoting healing and preventing further damage.

Negative Pressure Therapy

Negative pressure therapy, commonly known as wound vacuum therapy, involves suctioning fluid from a wound through a sealed dressing. This technique helps remove excess fluids, reduces swelling, promotes blood flow, and creates an environment conducive to healing. It is particularly effective for chronic or complex wounds.

About Limb Preservation Center of East Tennessee

Limb Preservation Center of East Tennessee stands at the forefront of championing limb preservation over amputation. By incorporating advanced treatments like hyperbaric oxygen therapy, we offer a lifeline to patients facing non-healing wounds to avoid limb loss.

Our team treats each patient like family and guides them through the entire wound care process. From discovering the root issue that is preventing you from healing to simply helping with things like finding the right compression socks at Walmart to treat your swelling, we are here to help you with every aspect of limb preservation.

clinic providing advanced wound care in lenoir city

Limb Preservation Center of East Tennessee is the newest and most advanced wound care practice in Lenoir City, Tennessee. Are you looking for experienced wound care that’s convenient and near home? Call Limb Preservation Center of East Tennessee at 865-770-5462 or request an appointment online to arrange a comprehensive chronic wound evaluation with our wound healing experts.

Schedule Your Appointment

Ready to take your first step towards healing? Experience the compassionate and personalized care you deserve. Call our office to schedule your appointment today!