Amputee receiving therapyOur multidisciplinary team of specialists provides a complete continuum of care for amputees on their physical and emotional journeys to recovery. Working with the patient, our emphasis is on holistic rehabilitation. It’s not just about the fitting of an artificial limb, but also learning to have a highly functioning life once patients leave our care.


  • Pain management including residual limb pain and phantom pain
  • Prescription of the appropriate prosthesis.
  • Instruction and training in prosthetic fitting.
  • Instruction and training in walking and performing daily activities with a prosthesis
  • Skin care and management
  • Referral to therapy or other additional services

Collaborative Team

Each patient has a collaborative team of specialists throughout the process such as surgeons, rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, prosthetists, social workers, nurses, and psychologists. Together they focus on movement, strength, endurance, as well as pain management, counseling and education, and other tools to use in the community.

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment please call:

Phone: (801) 581-2267
Toll Free: (800) 824-2073


What is an amputation?

Amputation is an acquired condition that results in the loss of a limb, usually from injury, disease, or surgery. Congenital (present at birth) limb deficiency occurs when an infant is born without part or all of a limb. In the U.S., 82% of amputations are due to vascular disease. Nearly 70% of amputations due to trauma involve the upper limbs. About 2 million individuals in the U.S. are living with a loss of a limb, with more than 185,000 amputations performed each year according to the National Limb Loss Information Center.

What causes the need for amputations?

The causes for amputation may include any of the following:

  • Diseases, such as blood vessel disease (called peripheral vascular disease or PVD), diabetes, blood clots, or osteomyelitis (an infection in the bones).

  • Injuries, especially of the arms. Seventy-five percent of upper extremity amputations are related to trauma.

  • Surgery to remove tumors from bones and muscles.

Rehabilitation after amputation

Loss of a limb produces a permanent disability that can impact a patient's self-image, self-care, and mobility (movement). Rehabilitation of the patient with an amputation begins after surgery during the acute treatment phase. As the patient's condition improves, a more extensive rehabilitation program is often begun.

The success of rehabilitation depends on many variables, including the following:

  • Level and type of amputation

  • Type and degree of any resulting impairments and disabilities

  • Overall health of the patient

  • Family support

It is important to focus on maximizing the patient's capabilities at home and in the community. Positive reinforcement helps recovery by improving self-esteem and promoting independence. The rehabilitation program is designed to meet the needs of the individual patient. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of the program.

The goal of rehabilitation after an amputation is to help the patient return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life — physically, emotionally, and socially.

In order to help reach these goals, amputation rehabilitation programs may include the following:

  • Treatments to help improve wound healing and stump care

  • Activities to help improve motor skills, restore activities of daily living (ADLs), and help the patient reach maximum independence

  • Exercises that promote muscle strength, endurance, and control

  • Fitting and use of artificial limbs (prostheses)

  • Pain management for both postoperative and phantom pain (a sensation of pain that occurs below the level of the amputation)

  • Emotional support to help during the grieving period and with readjustment to a new body image

  • Use of assistive devices

  • Nutritional counseling to promote healing and health

  • Vocational counseling

  • Adapting the home environment for ease of function, safety, accessibility, and mobility

  • Patient and family education

The amputation rehabilitation team

Rehabilitation programs for patients with amputations can be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Many skilled professionals are part of the amputation rehabilitation team, including any or all of the following:

  • Orthopedists/orthopedic surgeons

  • Physiatrist

  • Internist

  • Other specialty doctors

  • Rehabilitation specialists

  • Physical therapist

  • Occupational therapist

  • Orthotist

  • Prosthetist

  • Social worker

  • Psychologist/psychiatrist

  • Recreational therapist

  • Case manager

  • Chaplain

  • Vocational counselor

Types of rehabilitation programs for amputations

There are a variety of treatment programs, including the following:

  • Acute rehabilitation programs

  • Outpatient rehabilitation programs

  • Day-treatment programs

  • Vocational rehabilitation programs

Colby Hansen, M.D.

Patient Rating:


4.5 out of 5

Dr. Hansen is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He graduated from medical school with honors from the University of Iowa and completed residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Utah, where he served as chief resident. Dr. Hansen’s clinical interests are in amputee r... Read More


Amputee Rehabilitation, Concussion, EMG, Mild Brain Injury, Pediatric Rehabilitation, Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Traumatic Brain Injury


Eccles Primary Children’s Outpatient Services Building (801) 213-3599
Primary Children's Hospital
General Pediatric Rehabilitation
(801) 662-4949
University Hospital
Amputee Clinic, EMG, General Rehabilitation
(801) 581-2267
University Orthopaedic Center
Concussion Clinic for Adults and Kids
(801) 587-7109

Spencer J. Thompson, DPT

Spencer Thompson, DPT, NCS is a doctor of physical therapy who specializes in patients with neurologic diagnoses and is the team lead for the outpatient amputation program. He graduated from the University of Utah with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2006 and is also a graduate of the Utah Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program. He also i... Read More


Amputee Rehabilitation, Multiple Sclerosis, Physical Therapy, Spinal Cord Injury, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury


A location has not yet been added by this physician.

University Hospital 50 N. Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84132
(801) 587-3422
Double Hand Amputee Learns to Use Prosthetic Hands with Help from Occupational Therapist

Double Hand Amputee Learns to Use Prosthetic Hands with Help from Occupational Therapist

In December 2010, Sam Matagi’s life changed forever when he lost both his hands in an electrical accident while working as a power lineman in Colorado. In a split second, nearly 15,000 volts of electricity surged through his body, leaving his hands irreversibly damaged....

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