In Poland, according to the National Health Fund, approximately 30,000 amputations are performed annually, and this number has increased in recent years. These alarming statistics require searching and developing effective therapeutic techniques. Thanks to the cooperation of Globalworth Foundation and Poland Business Run Foundation, a pilot project is underway, which will help to determine the appropriate therapy and facilitate the recovery of people with amputations.
Successful restoration of tissue function after limb subtraction surgery is a difficult problem for specialists because of the scarring-dependent mode of healing. Currently, there are no standard treatments to help regulate the formation of scar tissue. Meanwhile, scars, depending on their physical characteristics, can profoundly affect a patient’s quality of life from a functional, cosmetic or psychological standpoint.
The Globalworth Foundation funded the purchase of an ultrasound scanner for the Rehabilitation Center “Back on the Run” in Kraków, which allows for non-invasive ultrasound scar tissue assessment. Thanks to the equipment, specialists at the Rehabilitation Center performed preliminary tests allowing for objective assessment of scar morphology after amputation of a lower limb at the thigh level.
“We believe that through this project it will be possible to facilitate the recovery process for amputee patients. Proper rehabilitation is the first step for a person with an amputation to return to physical fitness, work and social life. Supporting people whose lives have been changed forever is a value we hold dear at the Globalworth Foundation,” says Judyta Sawicka, board member of the Globalworth Foundation.
The group invited to participate in the study were persons after amputation who required rehabilitation, and dietary and psychological support. Since the beginning of the project, ultrasound examinations have been included in the process of comprehensive therapy of 52 people after limb amputation from all over Poland, who participated in a week-long rehabilitation camp at the Back on the Run Centre in Krakow.
The results indicated that the specific disorder of scar healing requires the development of additional standards of physiotherapeutic procedure. Early identification of the amputation scar by ultrasound will allow for the determination of appropriate rehabilitation, help to plan treatment and diagnose the causes of pain, and then make an adequate prosthesis, which will greatly facilitate learning to walk and thus return to physical fitness.
“I truly believe that through this project, ultrasound will be used more often as the gold standard in evaluating the amputation patient. I hope that we will set benchmarks that will change the quality of patient care and accelerate their return to daily life,” comments Dr Agnieszka Wnuk-Scardaccione, Head of the Physiotherapy Team at the Back on the Run Rehabilitation Center.
In addition to treating amputation patients, the ultrasound machine funded by the Globalworth Foundation can also be used to diagnose and treat other patient groups, including women who have had breast amputations. More tests are planned for the coming months.