Finding Financial Assistance for Amputees
How much do amputations cost? Find financial assistance for amputees with our medical fundraising platform.
An amputation may cost between $20,000 and $500,000 depending on insurance coverage, lifetime needs, and other specifics. In this post, you’ll learn what to expect throughout the amputation process and how to find financial assistance for amputees.
Amputation is the removal or loss of any body part, including all or any part of any extremity. Not only does amputation impact a patient’s ability to move and function, but it can also result in extreme psychological repercussions. The mental effect of amputation can stem from continuing pain, emotional trauma, and phantom pains in the case of limb loss. All these components can contribute to a more complex and challenging recovery.
Amputation typically happens for three reasons:
- Traumatic amputation (caused by injury or accident), in which the limb or body part is severed.
- Surgical amputation for blood vessel disease, cancer, infection, or excessive tissue damage.
- Congenital amputation in a person who is born missing a limb or section of an extremity.
Traumatic amputation may result from circumstances like a motor vehicle accident or combat injury. 45% of all amputations occur during or after a traumatic event.
"45% of all amputations occur as part of a traumatic event."
In an amputation due to tissue destruction from disease or infection, the amputation is a necessity because the body part is impossible to repair and could ultimately become a threat to the patient’s life. In these cases, surgical amputation is required.
The most common diagnoses that result in amputation include diabetes and vascular diseases. 54% of surgical amputations are performed in response to tissue damage due to the loss of proper blood flow. Chronic vascular issues can cause total tissue degradation in extremities – a severe risk for a patient’s health that often leads to surgical amputation.
Fighting Cancer Through Amputation
In less than 2% of amputations, cancer is at the source. To stop the spread of cancer to healthy cells in the body and save the patient’s life, surgeons may perform an amputation in a diseased limb, which could be a partial or complete extremity amputation.
For example, sarcomas can affect soft tissue and parts of the skeleton or bone mass. If a tumor is too large or aggressive to be removed, the containing limb may be removed to prevent the further spread.
Amputation for Life-Threatening Infections
Blood poisoning, septicemia, and sepsis are all severe infections that can occur when bacteria spreads through the bloodstream and affects the blood flow. If an infection cannot be controlled, it may lead to gangrene, which is the death of tissue. In this case, amputation may be necessary to prevent the infection from spreading. It is most common in fingers, toes, hands, and feet.
Often, bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, resulting in meningitis or MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). These infections may lead to the necessity for surgical amputation to save a patient’s life.
What Is Congenital Amputation?
Congenital amputation is a condition in which a baby is born without one or more limbs or with a limb that has not fully developed. When a child is developing in the womb, sometimes extremities will not form correctly, or parts of limbs will be missing entirely. Congenital amputation occurs without surgery as part of the development process of the fetus.
Later in life, these individuals may use a prosthesis to help them stay mobile and maintain their quality of life.
Congenital Amputation Causes
The causes of congenital amputation are not fully understood, but several factors can increase the risk. These include:
- Medications: Some medications may increase the likelihood of developing congenital limb defects.
- Genetic Abnormalities: Some chromosomal abnormalities, such as trisomy 13 and trisomy 18, can increase the risk of congenital amputation.
- Exposure to Teratogens: Exposure to certain substances during pregnancy, such as radiation or certain medications, can increase the risk of congenital amputation.
Types of Amputation Surgery
According to Johns Hopkins:
“The surgical approach depends on the affected body part, the reason for the amputation and the extent of bone and tissue damage. A finger amputation may be a small but intricate procedure working with skin, tendons and nerves to allow fine motor function and optimal use of the hand. The removal of an arm or leg can call for major surgery, requiring skill in handling and stabilizing all the different tissues of the body part, including skin, blood vessels, muscles, nerves, tendons and bone.
To remove a finger, toe, foot, hand, arm or leg, the surgeon may cut through the bone or detach (disarticulate) a joint, separating bones where they meet, such as in the knee or elbow.
The amputation may take place in stages. A revision procedure may be necessary to address tissue breakdown, chronic pain, scarring or other health issues.”
How Much Do Amputations Cost?
The cost of amputation treatment can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of amputation, the location of the amputation, the patient’s overall health, and the hospital or surgery center where the amputation is performed.
On average, amputation surgery costs for patients not covered by health insurance typically range from $20,000 to $60,000. Even patients with insurance may incur a range of out-of-pocket costs related to the amputation.
Depending on the type of amputation, surgery and healing expenses will vary. For example, when comparing a foot amputation cost to an above-knee amputation cost, there is a difference of about $20,000.
Long-term medical expenses for amputation are estimated at $100,000 to $500,000, a range which depends on the limb removed and the type of rehabilitation and recovery that a patient needs.
Finding Financial Assistance for Amputees
Although the medical expenses associated with amputation procedures, rehabilitation funding for prosthetics, and long-term health care will vary depending on the situation, the expenses can add up quickly. Help Hope Live is your community-based fundraising source to provide financial assistance for amputees for treatment, physical therapy, rehabilitation services, and other associated costs.
Which Costs Can Fundraising for Amputees Help With?
Fundraising can help you cover amputation-related expenses including:
- Health insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-payments
- Travel expenses for rehabilitation and treatment
- Relocation or moving expenses related to the diagnosis (such as in the case of moving to be closer to a rehabilitation center or hospital for treatment)
- Temporary housing due to relocation
- Mileage, tolls, and parking fees for visits to rehabilitation center or hospital
- Specialized wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment for mobility
- Accessible vans
- Home modification related to the diagnosis
- Home health care services
- Physical therapy and vocational rehabilitation
- Assistive technology
Turn to Help Hope Live for Financial Assistance for Amputees
Through community-based fundraising, our nonprofit organization is dedicated to helping you raise funds for the medical expenses associated with surgery or ongoing support for an amputation. If you are seeking financial assistance or grants for amputation, Help Hope Live may be able to provide the resources and support you need to help offset medical expenses.
How Does Fundraising for Amputees Work?
Fundraising with our nonprofit works as follows:
- Submit a campaign request for assistance at helphopelive.org/get-started/apply
- We will contact you if community-based fundraising is a possible option
- You’ll be paired with a Client Services Coordinator
- Your Coordinator will provide you with one-on-one fundraising help, including personalized fundraising materials and guidance on how to rally your community, share your story on social media, reach out to the press, plan in-person or virtual fundraising events, and much more
How Is Help Hope Live Different from GoFundMe?
Help Hope Live differs from GoFundMe by:
- Verifying your medical need for complete donor confidence
- Enabling donations that are tax deductible
- Providing one-on-one fundraising help
- Managing all funds raised to protect your state-based benefits (funds raised are not considered personal income/assets to you)
- Paying bills directly allows you to focus on treatment and recovery
We are a nonprofit organization with more than 30 years of fundraising experience and a 4-star Charity Navigator rating.
Does Community-Based Fundraising Work?
Here are a few Help Hope Live fundraising success stories:
“Help Hope Live manages the funds and ensures fiscal accountability: the money is only going toward my legitimate medical expenses.”
Kristoffer Kristensen experienced a left pelvis, leg, and hip amputation due to a rare bone cancer diagnosis. He lost his job, his mobility, and his independence. Kristoffer turned to Help Hope Live to help fuel a brighter and more mobile future. He has raised over $10,600 with Help Hope Live so far with one-on-one fundraising help at every stage of his journey, including event planning help, successful press outreach in his community, and customized fundraising materials. He posts regular video Updates on his Campaign Page to keep his community engaged.
“Duct tape only goes so far! Having the best technology available keeps me mobile and independent.”
Carolanne Mitchell was frustrated to learn that her insurance would only cover part of the cost of a piece of medical equipment she desperately needed: a new prosthetic leg. To stay mobile and continue working and engaging with her community, she would need to cover $6,700 out-of-pocket. She turned to Help Hope Live for trusted medical fundraising. Carolanne exceeded her goal, raising over $7,200 to help with funding for a prosthetic replacement.
MOST COMMON AMPUTATION EXPENSES
Ready to Get Started?
If you choose to fundraise with our nonprofit, here’s how the process will look:
1. APPLY for assistance
2. YOU’LL BE PAIRED with a Client Services Coordinator
3. YOUR COORDINATOR will provide you with one-on-one fundraising help, including personalized fundraising materials and guidance on how to rally your community, share your story on social media, reach out to the press, plan in-person or virtual fundraising events, and more.
Need Other Financial Help Options?
For alternatives to fundraising, you can find information on a variety of financial assistance options for amputation expenses in our Resource Directory for catastrophic injury patients, family members, and caregivers.