Treatment of the Diabetic Foot

To Amputate or Not?

Elroy P Weledji; Pius Fokam


BMC Surg. 2014;14(83) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background Diabetic foot infections are a frequent clinical problem. About 50% of patients with diabetic foot infections who have foot amputations die within five years. Properly managed most can be cured, but many patients needlessly undergo amputations because of improper diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

Discussion The article debates the pros and cons of amputation of the diabetic foot. The thesis is that if the guidelines on the management of the diabetic foot are followed primary amputation is only necessary for the unsalvageable diabetic foot. This approach would reduce the incidence of lower limb amputations in diabetic patients.

Summary We favour the argument that a structured clinical and vascular assessment would help clinical decision- making as to which patients to hospitalize, which to send for imaging, or for whom to recommend surgical interventions. Endovascular procedures are the future in the treatment of diabetic arterial disease and hence the diabetic foot.