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Hemipelvectomy gas gangrene.jpg
Hemipelvectomy being performed on a patient suffering from gas gangrene.

A hemipelvectomy is a high level pelvic amputation. Along with hip disarticulations, hemipelvectomies are the rarest of lower extremity amputations. In some cases, an internal hemipelvectomy can be performed, which is a limb-sparing procedure. A complete hemipelvectomy, however, is the amputation of half of the pelvis and the leg on that side. This type of procedure is also called transpelvic amputation.

Hemipelvectomies may be required for several reasons, such as a car accident or cancer. Examples of cancers that can require hemipelvectomies are sarcomas like Ewing's Sarcoma, osteosarcoma or chondrosarcoma.

People who have experienced a hemipelvectomy may or may not be able to use a prosthesis. They may use adaptive devices such as a wheelchair, underarm crutches, forearm crutches, or, in the case of internal hemipelvectomies, a cane.

Physical therapy can be useful to those with hemipelvectomies to build strength and prevent problems like back pain and scoliosis. Because a hemipelvectomy is a rare type of amputation, it is important that the physical therapist is trained in the special needs of a post-hemipelvectomy patient.

An x-ray of a limb sparing hemipelvectomy of a male pelvis taken one month after surgery.

There are two types of hemipelvectomy:

  • External - Amputation of the whole leg plus the pelvis on that side. Another name for external hemipelvectomy is hindquarter amputation.
  • Internal - Removal of the pelvis on the one side, but without removal of the leg.


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