Effect of Amputation Level on Quality of Life and Subjective Function in Children

Jessica McQuerry, Lee Gammon, Aaron Carpiaux, Vishwas Talwalkar, Henry Iwinski, Janet Walker, Cale A. Jacobs, Ryan Muchow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background:Our aim was to discern whether children with amputations have differences in subjective function based on amputation level. We hypothesized that children with more proximal amputations would report poorer function and quality of life.Methods:An IRB-approved, retrospective chart review of patients aged 0 to 21 years old with lower extremity amputations was performed. Demographic information, type of amputation, type of prosthesis, and the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument (PODCI) was collected from parents and children (above 10 y old). Patients were divided into 4 groups based on the level of amputation (ankle; transtibial; knee; transfemoral), and PODCI scores were compared between groups. PODCI subscores were also compared between unilateral versus bilateral amputations, high-demand versus low-demand prostheses, and congenital versus acquired amputations.Results:We identified 96 patients for analysis (39 ankle, 21 transtibial, 27 knee, and 9 transfemoral amputations). The sports/physical functioning subscale of the PODCI showed the only statistically significant difference between amputation level and outcome with ankle-level amputations reporting higher scores than knee-level amputations (parent: 78.3±16.4 vs. 60.0±25.3, P=0.006; child: 87.4±15.3 vs. 65.4±31.5, P=0.03). Although not significantly different from either the ankle, knee, or transfemoral groups, patients with transtibial amputations reported intermediate scores (parent: 68.5±27.5; child: 78.9±25.5). There were no significant differences among amputation level for PODCI transfers, pain/comfort, global function, or happiness subscales. In subgroup analysis, same-level congenital amputees had similar scores to acquired amputees (P>0.05). When compared with unilateral knee amputations patients, patients with bilateral knee amputations had significantly worse transfer (62.4 vs. 88.3; P=0.02), sports/physical functioning (34.2 vs. 66.2; P=0.01), and global domains (58.4 vs. 80.5; P=0.02).Conclusions:Subjective sports and physical functioning of pediatric amputees were significantly worse after knee amputation when compared with ankle-level amputations. Although not statistically significant at all levels, our data suggest a graded decline in sports/physical functioning with higher level amputations. Amputation level did not affect pain, happiness, or basic mobility.Level of Evidence:Level III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E524-E530
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • amputation
  • amputee
  • bilateral amputation
  • limb deficiency
  • prosthesis
  • quality of life
  • subjective function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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