Limb Loss Statistics

With almost 2 million people in the US living with limb loss, it’s evident that this remains a major health concern. Vascular disease – caused by diabetes and peripheral arterial diseases- is responsible for over half of these cases; trauma related causes follow closely behind at 45%, while cancer accounts less than 2%. A staggering 185,000 amputations occur each year accompanied by $8.3 billion worth of hospital costs. The chilling numbers rise even higher when factoring race: African Americans are up to four times more likely to have an amputation compared to white Americans – not only further complicating the dismal statistic but also putting their mortality five years after any such procedure significantly above other deadly illnesses like breast or colon cancer! For those struggling with diabetes, the risk of having both legs amputated is shockingly high – up to 55% will require a second leg amputation within two or three years.




1.    ZieglerGraham K, MacKenzie EJ, Ephraim PL, Travison TG, Brookmeyer R. Estimating the Prevalence of Limb Loss in the United States: 2005 to 2050. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation2008;89(3):4229.

2.    Owings M, Kozak LJ, National Center for Health S. Ambulatory and Inpatient Procedures in the United States, 1996. Hyattsville, Md.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics; 1998.

3.    HCUP Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS). Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2009.

4.    Fisher ES, Goodman DC, Chandra A. Disparities in Health and Health Care among Medicare Beneficiaries: A Brief Report of the Dartmouth Atlas Project. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation2008.

5.    Robbins JM, Strauss G, Aron D, Long J, Kuba J, Kaplan Y. Mortality Rates and Diabetic Foot Ulcers. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association2008 November 1, 2008;98(6):48993.


6.    Pandian G, Hamid F, Hammond M. Rehabilitation of the Patient with Peripheral Vascular Disease and Diabetic Foot Problems. In: DeLisa JA, Gans BM, editors. Philadelphia: LippincottRaven; 1998.