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Timely surgery may lower the risk of amputation of the foot or lower leg in diabetic patients. When osteomyelitis (bone inflammation) occurs in the foot and toes, surgery to remove dead areas and to restore circulation can prevent more extensive amputations, according to a study reported in the Annals of Surgery (June 2005).
In a study of 237 participants with diabetes and nonhealing foot or toe ulcers, the limb in question was saved in 80% of the cases. The researchers also pointed out that reconstruction of the blood supply enhanced the chances of wound healing 3-fold. Patients treated with surgery, compared with medical therapy, needed fewer home health services.