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Amputation is the loss of a body part -- usually a finger, toe, arm, or leg. People can lose all or part of an arm or leg for a number of reasons. Common ones include:

  • Circulation problems from atherosclerosis or diabetes, resulting in amputation
  • Traumatic injuries, including from traffic accidents and military combat
  • Cancer[1]

Many amputees use an artificial limb, or prosthesis.


  1. Limb Loss. MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Accessed May 25, 2010.