Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene.
A large proportion of amputees experience the phenomenon of phantom limbs, they feel body parts that are no longer there. These limbs can itch, ache, and feel as if they are moving. Some scientists believe it has to do with a kind of neural map that the brain has of the body, which sends information to the rest of the brain about limbs regardless of their existence.
In many cases, the phantom limb aids in adaptation to a prosthesis, as it permits the person to experience proprioception of the prosthetic limb.
A prosthesis is an artificial extension that replaces a missing body part. It is part of the field of biomechatronics, the science of fusing mechanical devices with human muscle, skeleton, and nervous systems to assist or enhance motor control lost by trauma, disease, or defects.
Though many prosthetics are clearly made of artificial materials, the practice of cosmesis, the creation of life-like limbs made from silicone or PVC, has grown in popularity. Such prosthetics, such as artificial hands, can now be made to mimic the appearance of real hands, complete with freckles, veins, hair, fingerprints and even tattoos.
Heather Mills - Heather Ann, Lady McCartney (ne� Mills; born 12 January 1968) is the estranged wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney as well as an English activist and former glamour model. She campaigns on behalf of several causes, including aid for amputees, the curtailment of land mines and animal rights. Having tried several jobs, she began a career in modeling and in 1988, while aged twenty, she took part in a photoshoot with a male model with whom she performed simulated sexual acts. In August 1993, Mills was hit by a police motorcycle while crossing the road, her injuries included crushed ribs, a punctured lung, and severe injury to her left leg. She needed a metal plate put into her pelvis and the amputation of her leg below the knee. Mills has a prosthetic leg, notably taking it off and showing it to USA talk show host Larry King during his interview with her in October 2002 on Larry King Live. Mills was one of the celebrity performers showcased during the U.S. television series Dancing with the Stars in 2007.
Bethany Hamilton - Bethany Meilani Hamilton (born February 8, 1990) is an American surfer. She is known for surviving a shark attack in which she lost her left arm, and for overcoming the serious and debilitating injury to return to surfing. On October 31, 2003, Hamilton went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach, Kauai. Around 7:10 a.m., she was lying sideways on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a tiger shark attacked her, ripping her left arm off just below the shoulder. Just eight weeks after the incident, she returned to her board and went surfing again. In July of 2004 Hamilton won the ESPY Award for Best Comeback Athlete of the Year. She was presented with a special courage award at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards. Hamilton still aspires to become a professional surfer.
Ian Gregson - A disabled activist and author in British Columbia, Canada. He was born in St Helens, Lancashire, England on September 2, 1962. Ian first gained national media attention in the fall of 1982 after completing the first ever Terry Fox Run in Port Coquitlam. Shortly thereafter, Ian began to focus on competing in disability sport events and in 1983 became Canada's top amputee athlete. In 1984 and 1988 Ian represented Canada at the Paralympics. Ian was involved in an accident that resulted in the loss of his right leg above the knee.
Tom Whittaker - (born 1949) is the first disabled person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. In 1981 he founded the Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped Outdoor Group (C.W.HOG) in Pocatello, Idaho. While living in Idaho, he was active in the southeast Idaho climbing community. On May 27, 1998, on his third attempt, Whittaker reached the summit of Mt. Everest, a lifelong dream, making him the first person with a disability to accomplish this feat. Whittaker's current quest is to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents. Whittaker's right foot needed to be amputated following a car accident in 1979. Following this serious accident, he regained his strength and continued climbing. Through training, his prosthetic foot became an advantage to climbing rather than a disadvantage.
Casey Pieretti - An actor and stuntman who has had a life full of tragedy and triumph. At the age of nineteen, while on a college basketball scholarship, Casey was struck by a drunk driver. The result of this car wreck was the loss of Casey's right leg below the knee. Casey, a below knee amputee, skated from San Diego, California to Washinton D.C. on inline skates in 1993. In the hospital, �they thought that I was in denial, that I was thinking like a person who had two legs all their lives and not like a person who now had one leg, whereas I was thinking like a person who now had one leg and I was thinking that these are the things I intended to do and I did. Even when I was in hospital, I was deciding to be a triathlete, which is what I did after I got out of the hospital.�
KENNEDY Ted Jr. - Edward Moore Kennedy, Jr. (born September 26, 1961) is the elder son of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and Virginia Joan Bennett. In 1973 cancer was discovered in his right leg. The leg was amputated. On the same day this surgery took place, Ted Sr. gave his niece Kathleen away at her wedding, rushing back to the hospital afterwards. Kennedy received an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University, a master�s degree from Yale University, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Alex Zanardi - Alessandro "Alex" Zanardi (born October 23, 1966 in Bologna, Italy) is an Italian racing driver. He won two CART championship titles in North America during the late 1990s. He also had a less successful career as a Formula One driver. More recently, he has attracted widespread praise for his return to competition in the aftermath of a crash in 2001 that resulted in the amputation of his legs. The crash occurred while Zanardi was leading the race in the closing laps. After a late pit stop, Zanardi was attempting to merge back onto the track when he accelerated abruptly and spun into the path of Alex Tagliani, who was travelling at over 330 km/h (205 mph).
Terry Fox - Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox, CC (July 28, 1958 � June 28, 1981) was a Canadian humanitarian, athlete, and cancer treatment activist. He became famous for the Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research, which Fox ran with one prosthetic leg. He is considered one of Canada's greatest heroes of the 20th century and is celebrated internationally every September as people participate in the Terry Fox Run, the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research. In 1977, after feeling pain in his right knee, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. This is a form of cancer that strikes men more than women, usually around ages ten to twenty-five. Very often the cancer starts at the knee, then works its way up into the muscles and tendons. At the time, the only way to treat his condition was to amputate his right leg several inches above the knee.
Rick Allen - Richard John Cyril "Rick" Allen (born November 1, 1963, Dronfield, Derbyshire, England) is the drummer for the British rock band Def Leppard. He is famous for having overcome the complete amputation of his left arm to continue playing with the band, which subsequently went on to its greatest popular success. On December 31, 1984, on the way to a New Year's Eve party at his family's home in Sheffield, England, 21-year-old Allen was driving his Corvette when an Alfa Romeo passed him. The driver had been egging Allen on and would not allow him to pass. In his rage to pass this driver, he did not see a turn up ahead and lost control of his car, which sailed over a stone wall and into a field. He was thrown from the car, with his left arm severed due to the seatbelt not being properly fastened. The car ended up upside down, with his girlfriend Miriam Barendsen secure in her seat. She was not seriously injured, and found Allen in the field. They were helped by a passerby, who was a nurse, and Allen was taken to a hospital. Doctors initially reattached Allen's arm, but due to infection it was removed again. He left the hospital three and a half weeks later and was back with Def Leppard in the Netherlands two weeks after getting out of the hospital.
Daniel Inouye - Daniel Ken Inouye (born September 7, 1924) is a recipient of the Medal of Honor and currently serves as the senior United States Senator from Hawaii. He has been a senator for over forty years, since 1963, a distinction that few senators have achieved. Although he lost his right arm in the war, he remained in the military until 1947, discharged with the rank of captain. Due to the loss of his arm, he abandoned his plans to become a surgeon and returned to college to study political science on the GI Bill. On May 23, 2005, Inouye was one of fourteen moderate senators to forge a compromise on the Democrats' use of the judicial filibuster, thus blocking the Republican leadership's attempt to implement the "nuclear option".
Bonnie St. John Deane - An international speaker, executive coach, author and the president of SJD&Co. As an Olympic medal-winning skier, author, Rhodes Scholar, Harvard honors graduate and former White House official, Bonnie St. John Deane specializes in high performance under pressure. She has been featured by NBC Nightly News as one of the five most inspiring women in the nation. Having been an amputee most of her life, she knows how to adapt when conditions are less than ideal.
Harold Russell - Harold John Russell (January 14, 1914 - January 29, 2002) was a Canadian-American World War II veteran who became one of only two non-professional actors to win an Academy Award for acting. Harold Russell was born in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. While an Army instructor, and training with the U.S. 13th Airborne Division stateside in 1944, a defective fuse detonated an explosive he was handling while making a training film. As a result, he lost both hands and was given two hooks to serve as hands. After his recovery, and while attending Boston University as a full-time student, an Army film called Diary of a Sergeant about rehabilitating war veterans was made featuring Russell. In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him as Chairman of the President�s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped which worked to educate employers about he capabilities of disabled people.
Aimee Mullins - (born 1976 in Allentown, Pennsylvania) is an American athlete, actress, and fashion model best known for her extraordinary collegiate-level athletic accomplishments, despite a disability that resulted in the amputation of both of her legs.She was born with fibular hemimelia (missing fibula bones) and had both of her legs amputated below the knee when she was just one year old. While attending Georgetown University she competed against able-bodied athletes in NCAA Division I track and field events and set Paralympic records in 1996 in Atlanta in the 100-meter dash and the long jump. She says she will have realised one of her ambitions when people describe her as "Aimee Mullins, the model", rather than "Aimee Mullins, the disabled model".
Ronan Tynan - MB BCh BAO (born May 14, 1960 in Dublin, Ireland) is a popular tenor, singing in the classical Irish style. He is most famous for his renditions of God Bless America performed at Yankee Stadium during important New York Yankee games, such as Opening Day, nationally-televised games, and playoff games. Born with lower limb disabilities, Tynan elected to have both legs amputated at the age of 20 due to complications caused by a car accident. Within weeks of the accident, he was climbing stairs at his college dormitory on artificial legs. Within a year, Tynan was winning in the international Paralympics. Between 1981 and 1984, he amassed eighteen gold medals and fourteen world records.
Max Cleland - Joseph Maxwell Cleland (born August 24, 1942) is an American politician from Georgia. Cleland, a Democrat, is a former U.S. Senator, disabled US Army veteran of the Vietnam War, and a critic of the Bush Administration. Cleland served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, attaining the rank of Captain. He was awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for valorous action in combat, including during the Battle of Khe Sanh on April 4th, 1968. With a month left in his tour, Cleland was ordered to set up a radio relay station on a nearby hill. A helicopter flew him and two soldiers to the treeless top of Hill 471, east of Khe Sanh. When the helicopter landed, Cleland jumped out, followed by the two soldiers. Cleland reached down to pick up the grenade he believed had popped off his flak jacket. The blast slammed him backward, shredding both his legs and one arm.
Glenn Malmskog - Stuntman, Stunt Coordinator, Fight Coordinator, Explosives Technician. William Glenn Malmskog, a below-knee amputee and firefighter, stuntman, and personal trainer. With over twenty years experience in Hollywood, Glenn has fallen from more heights, fought with more swords and rigged more explosions than any amputee in North America. When Arrowbear Fire Department hired Glenn Malmskog little did they realize they would be making history. According to State Fire Marshal records, Mr. Malmskog is the first amputee full duty City Firefighter in the history of California.
Jim Byrnes - TV and movie star is a double AK amputee James Thomas Byrnes was born on September 22, 1948 in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a Blues musician, guitarist, and actor. On February 26, 1972, he was struck by a passing car while he attempted to help a friend move a stalled truck, which caused him to lose both his legs above the knee. He starred in the fantasy television series Highlander: The Series as Joe Dawson, a member of a secret society known as the "Watchers". His other television roles include Higher Ground and cartoon voices in Beast Wars: Transformers, Beast Machines: Transformers, Shadow Raiders, Stargate Infinity, and X-Men: Evolution.
Robert Kerrey - Joseph Robert "Bob" Kerrey (born August 27, 1943) was the Democratic Governor of Nebraska from 1983 to 1987 and a U.S. Senator from Nebraska (1989�2001). During his senior year at Nebraska, he was a member of the Society of Innocents, the chancellor's senior honorary. He served in the United States Navy as a SEAL from 1966 to 1969 during the Vietnam War, lost the lower part of one leg in combat, and received the Medal of Honor. Kerrey dated actress Debra Winger while the latter was in Lincoln filming Terms of Endearment, which won the 1983 Oscar for Best Picture. When confronted with intense questioning by the press over the nature of the relationship, Kerrey famously replied; "What can I say � she swept me off my foot," alluding to the fact that the lower part of one of his legs was amputated due to injuries sustained in his Medal of Honor action in Vietnam.
Ron Santo - Ronald Edward Santo (born February 25, 1940 in Seattle, Washington) is a former third baseman in Major League Baseball who played almost his entire career with the Chicago Cubs. He was named a National League All-Star 9 times during his 15 seasons of play (1960 - 1974), and won five consecutive Gold Glove awards for fielding excellence (1964-1968). In the early years of his playing career, he carefully concealed the fact that he had Type 1 diabetes. He feared that had this information come out, he would be forced into retirement. As part of the publicity surrounding "Ron Santo Day" at Wrigley Field on August 28, 1971, he revealed his struggle with diabetes. He was diagnosed with this disease at the age of 18, and was given a life expectancy of 25 years. Santo has had both his legs amputated below the knee as a result of his diabetes: the right in 2001 and the left in 2002.
Aron Ralston - Aron Lee Ralston (born October 27, 1975) is an American mountain climber who became famous in May 2003 when he was forced to amputate his lower right arm with a dull knife in order to free himself after his arm became trapped by a boulder. Ralston documented his experience in a book titled Between a Rock and a Hard Place. While he was on a canyoneering trip in Blue John Canyon (near Moab, Utah), a boulder fell and pinned his right forearm, crushing it. After five days of trying to lift and break the boulder, a dehydrated and delirious Ralston bowed his arm against a chockstone and snapped the radius and ulna bones. Using the dull blade on his multiuse tool, he cut the soft tissue around the break. He then used the tool's pliers to tear at the tougher tendons.
Curt Marsh - A former American football offensive tackle. Curt Marsh was selected in the first round by the Oakland Raiders out of the University of Washington in the 1981 NFL Draft. He has had more than 30 surgeries, including a leg amputation. Marsh wears a Super Bowl ring from his playing days with the Oakland Raiders. He also wears a prosthetic leg which resulted from a terrible ankle injury during those same playing days. He is now a motivational speaker, sharing with executives and teenagers alike the lessons he has learned from his journey through college and pro sports, and eventually, a career ending injury which led to the amputation of his leg. Now competes in events for amputee athletes and is a gold medal power lifter.
Bill Veeck - Owned the Milwaukee Brewers. Bill lost his right leg in War II. He also owned the Cleveland Indians after the war. Veeck was baseball's most imaginative promoter. He grew up in a ballpark and was never happier than when he was roaming the grandstand and bleachers, mingling with fans. Bill Veek had everyone in stitches after substituting a midget to pinch-hit during the first inning in game two of a doubleheader. Eddie Gaedel, a three-foot, seven inch dwarf, emerged from a cake wearing the number 1/8 during pre-game festivities, then took the plate for center fielder Frank Saucer and walked on four balls. Wounds suffered fighting in the South Pacific with the Marines in WWII forced him to undergo several operations on his leg and eventual amputation. But it didn't slow him down.
John Wesley Powell - John Wesley Powell (March 24, 1834 - September 23, 1902) was a U.S. soldier, geologist, and explorer of the American West. He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers that included the first passage through the Grand Canyon. During the Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army, serving first with the 20th Illinois Volunteers. At the Battle of Shiloh, he lost most of one arm when struck by a musket ball. The raw nerve endings in his arm would continue to cause him pain the rest of his life. Despite the loss of an arm, he returned to the army and was present at Champion Hill and Big Black River Bridge on the Big Black River. In 1879 he founded the Smithsonian Institution Bureau of Ethnology.
Don Blas de Lezo - (3 February 1689 � 7 September 1741) If one was trying to envisage the perfect military hero, Don Blas de Lezo would be a prime candidate. Indeed, if he was from the English speaking world, numerous movies and books would have already immortalized him: a gallant man who although incapacitated by leg and arm amputations, and the loss of one eye, saved a city against overwhelming odds.
Robert David Hall - (born November 9, 1947) is an American actor, best known for his role as coroner Dr. Albert Robbins M.D. on the television show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In 1978, Hall had to have both of his legs amputated as a result of an accident in which an 18-wheeler truck crushed his car. He now comfortably uses prosthetic limbs, allowing for personal mobility. Several of his characters have openly shared this disability. He is a prominent advocate for disabled Americans. Hall has also appeared in films Starship Troopers and The Negotiator and has made guest appearances in a number of TV programmes including The West Wing and L.A. Law.
Sarah Bernhardt - (October 22, 1844 � March 26, 1923) was a French stage actress, and has been referred to as "the most famous actress in the history of the world". In 1905, while performing in Victorien Sardou's La Tosca in Rio de Janeiro, Bernhardt injured her right knee during the final scene which required her to leap from a high wall. The leg never healed properly. By 1915, gangrene had set in and her entire right leg was amputated, confining her to a wheelchair for several months. She continued her career, and contrary to belief, without the use of a wooden prosthetic limb. Her physical condition confined her practically to immobility on the stage, but the charm of her voice, which had altered little with age, ensured her triumphs.
Suzan Ball - (1933-1955) A distant cousin of Lucille Ball, was a starlet in the early 1950s. While filming East of Sumatra (1953; with Jeff Chandler), Ball injured her right leg, which was later found to be cancerous. Her leg was eventually amputated below the knee. By 1955, the cancer had spread to her lungs, and she passed away in August 1955 at the age of 22. Ball married actor Richard Long in 1954, leaving him a widower just a year later.
Herbert Marshall - Born Herbert Brough Falcon Marshall - (May 23, 1890 - January 22, 1966) A popular English cinema and theatre actor Marshall overcame the loss of a leg in World War I. He used a prosthetic limb during his long career and was in some well known movies with Bette Davis. Herbert Marshall served in the London Scottish Regiment with fellow actors Basil Rathbone, Ronald Colman, and Claude Rains. He was married five times. Among his wives were two actresses, Edna Best, with whom he appeared in The Calendar, Michael and Mary and The Faithful Heart, and Boots Mallory, to whom he was married from 1947 until her death in 1958.
Oscar Pistorius - Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius (born 22 November 1986) is a South African Paralympic runner. Known as the "Blade Runner". Oscar Pistorius was born to Henke and Sheila Pistorius in Sandton, Johannesburg, in Gauteng Province, with congenital absence of the fibula in both legs. When he was 11 months old, his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles. Pistorius is the double amputee world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metres and runs with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs. Pistorius participated in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing in the 100, 200 and 400 metres (T44). On 9 September, in the heats of the 100 metres, he set a Paralympic record with his time of 11.16 seconds.
James Stacy - (born Maurice William Elias on December 23, 1936), is an American actor whose career was effectively ended in a motorcycle crash which left him a multiple amputee and took the life of his girlfriend. Returning to acting after his recovery, Stacy retired from acting in 1991. He was arrested and convicted of child molestation in 1995, serving a six year sentence in California Institution for Men, at Chino.
Jessica Cox - Recognized around the world as an inspirational keynote speaker. Born without arms, Jessica flies planes, drives cars, and otherwise lives a normal life using her feet as others use their hands. Today Jessica holds the titles of the first person without arms in the American Tae Kwon-Do Association to get a black belt, and the first woman pilot in aviation history to fly using her feet.
Amy Winters - Winters, a welder and mother of two, lost her leg following a 1994 motorcycle accident. Amy Winters, a transtibial amputee from Meadville, Pennsylvania, finished the Cleveland Marathon in 3:26:19, knocking more than 27 minutes off the previous best time for a female amputee. The world record comes only three months after Winters received her first running prosthesis from A Step Ahead Prosthetics, Hicksville, New York, which specializes in the treatment of young, active, elite amputee athletes from around the world.
Amy Winters is an extremely talented runner who since the age of 16 has represented Australia at the International Paralympic Committee World Athletics Championships, Paralympics and Paralympic Revival. Amy's specialty events are the 100m and 200m. In 1999 she held the World Record for the 100m, in 1996 the World Record for the 200m and in 1994 she held the Australian Record in the 200m and Long Jump.
Sarah Reinertsen - (born 1975) is an American athlete. She was the first female leg amputee to complete the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. She first attempted to finish the race in 2004, but was disqualified when she failed to meet the qualifying time for the bike leg by 15 minutes. She returned in 2005 and completed the race in just over 15 hours. Besides marathons and triathlons, Sarah has also competed in bicycle races. She was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, a bone-growth disorder which eventually lead to her becoming an above-the-knee amputee at the age of seven. After the amputation, she began to run track and broke the 100-meter world record for female above-the-knee amputees at the age of 13. She was formerly the marketing coordinator for Ossur and spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
Barbara Adside - Adside was born without legs. Diagnosed with spina bifida, a birth defect in which a child is born without a fully formed spinal chord, she wasn�t supposed to make it. Doctors gave her seven days. She lived past that mark. And the next. In fact, her entire life has been about defying the odds. Adside has spent the last several decades working and thriving in the entertainment industry as an actress and stuntwoman. Building a career any able-bodied actor would be envious of; she has worked in television, film and commercials.
RoseMarie Siggins - Born with a rare genetic disorder known as Sacral Agenesis, Rose had severely deformed legs with feet pointing in opposite directions. There was no feeling in the legs and, as a child, she was in danger of harming herself. When she was two years old her mother, after consulting with the doctors at the hospital, decided that the best course of action was to have the legs amputated. Rose's story as a woman who has overcome bewildering obstacles and succeeded despite seemingly impossible odds is a real life example of the American dream.
Brett Smrz - In 2007, Brett began racing in the SCCA San Francisco Region Formula Ford 1600 series, winning his first race at Infineon raceway. The following weekend would change Brett�s life forever, as an off track accident resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee. After ten surgeries and months of physical therapy, Brett returned to racing.