Limb Loss Stats

Limb Loss Statistics

  • There are nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the United States.
  • Among those living with limb loss, the main causes are vascular disease (54%) – including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease – trauma (45%) and cancer (less than 2%)
  • Approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States each year
  • In 2009, hospital costs associated with amputation totaled more than $8.3 billion
  • African‐Americans are up to four times more likely to have an amputation than white Americans
  • Nearly half of the individuals who have an amputation due to vascular disease will die within 5 years. This is higher than the five year mortality rates for breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.
  • Of persons with diabetes who have a lower extremity amputation, up to 55% will require amputation of the second leg within 2‐3 years

The limb loss statistics found on this site, were a reliable jumping off point for our research. We were able to take this information and begin looking at other statistics relating to amputees and the designs, products, and world of prosthetics that come with the disability.


Estimating the Future of Limb Loss in the United States

  • Estimates were constructed using age-, sex-, and race-specific incidence rates for amputation combined with age-, sex-, and race-specific assumptions about mortality. Incidence rates were derived from the 1988 to 1999 Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.
  • While these numbers were projections and a little out-dated, we were able to use this information to get a better feel for the impact limb loss has on everyday life.

More Information on the Site: 

  • An estimated 1.6 million persons were living with the loss of a limb in the year 2005.
  • Over the next 45 years, the number of persons living with the loss of a limb is expected to more than double from 1.6 million in 2005 to 3.6 million in 2050
  • The increase in prevalence is driven by the aging population and the high rates of dysvascular conditions among older adults.
  • Thus, even though overall rates of amputation increase dramatically with age, with 57% of the incident cases occurring among older adults 65 years and over, there are close to 1 million persons living with the loss of a limb who are below the age of 65 years (302,000 below the age of 45y).
  • The prevalence of diabetes in the United States is projected to nearly double by the year 2030 solely because of changes in the demographic composition of the population.

Graphs accompany most of this data and do a great job putting the words into a visualisation.


Design for Prosthetics

This site provided us vital information that goes into the design for prosthetics, and the emotions consumers feel with purchasing and the industry in general.

The research conclusion statedDesign priorities reflect consumer goals for prosthesis use and vary depending on the type of prosthesis used and age. Future design efforts should focus on the development of more light-weight, comfortable prostheses.

Data from the study:

  • A consumer questionnaire was developed to explore prosthesis use and satisfaction.
  • Levels of limb absence ranged from partial hand to forequarter disarticulation, with 16% of individuals reporting limb absence at or distal to the wrist, 54% reporting trans-radial limb absence, 21% trans-humeral, and 7% at shoulder level or higher.
  • In general, all prostheses, regardless of genre, were used functionally in daily life, particularly for steadying and stabilizing tasks.

Table IV, V, and VI, were vital to our research process and gave us supplementary information to take the next step in our design thinking.


Upper Limb Disability Interactions

This site gave us a better idea of demographics and the data went on to stress the importance of understanding whether individuals with upper limb loss would accept the associated risks in order to use a prosthesis.

Data from the study:

  • Many participants were interested in trying the techniques – 83 % responded positively toward myoelectric control, 63 % toward targeted muscle reinnervation, 68 % toward peripheral nerve interfaces, and 39 % toward cortical interfaces.
  • Common concerns about myoelectric control were weight, cost, durability, and difficulty of use, while the most common concern about the invasive techniques was the surgical risk.
  • Some good demographic statistics: The mean age of the 104 participants was 47 ± 15 years (range: 19–82 years). Seventy participants (67 %) were male and 34 participants (33 %) were female. Ninety-five participants (92 %) had unilateral limb loss.
  • Consumer Feedback:
    • “I’m willing to try anthing [sic] if it means a chance at better use of limb”
    • “I’m concerned about the long term effects. I’m not convinced that the medical industry knows the long term implications.”
    • “At my age, surgery risk is not worth benefits.”

The comments continued in this trend and allowed us to examine the possibilities for a market within the disability industry, and the chance to create a better life for these people.


Additional Statistics

Out of all of our research, this was our least reliable source, but the site provided amputee information from a credible source that we valued during our research.

Data posted on the site:

  • 50,000 new amputations every year in USA based on information from National Center for Health Statistics
  • ratio of upper limb to lower limb amputation is 1:4
  • most common is partial hand amputation with loss of 1 or more fingers, 61,000
  • next common is loss of one arm, 25,000
  • existence of 350,000 persons with amputations in USA, 30% have upper limb loss
  • of this, wrist and hand amputations are estimated to make up 10% of upper limb population
  • transradial amputations make up 60% of total wrist and hand amputations
  • which means 70% of all persons with upper limb amputations have amputations distal to the elbow(3)
  • In US 41,000 persons are registered who had an amputation of hand or complete arm
  • 60% of arm amputations are between ages 21 and 64 years and 10% are under 21 years of age

Additional Statistics:

  • Reasons for amputation include cardiovascular disease, traumatic accidents, infection, tumors, nerve injury (trophic ulceration), and congenital anomaliesMost frequent causes of upper limb amputation are trauma and cancer, followed by vascular complications of disease right arm more frequently involved in work related injuriesCongenital upper limb deficiency has an incidence of approximately 4.1 per 10000 live birth