Trauma is the most common reason for amputation of the upper extremity.
The morphologic and functional distinctions between the upper and lower extremities render the surgical techniques and decision-making different in many key respects.
Acceptance of the prosthesis and the outcomes are improved by performing a transradial rather than a more proximal amputation. Substantial efforts, including free tissue transfers when necessary, should be made to salvage the elbow.
Careful management of the peripheral nerves is critical to minimize painful neuroma formation while preserving options for possible future utilization in targeted muscle reinnervation and use of a myoelectric prosthesis.
Rapid developments with targeted muscle reinnervation, myoelectric prostheses, and composite tissue allotransplantation may dramatically alter surgical treatment algorithms in the near future for patients with severe upper-extremity trauma.