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Report: 2016 first year of no combat amputations since Afghan, Iraq wars began

April 2, 2017 (Photo Credit: DoD)
Last year marked the first year without a combat amputation for a U.S. service member since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began, according to the U.S. Military Health System.

Recent numbers from the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, a report from the Defense Health Agency’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance, show that 2016 was the first year with no combat related amputations since they began reporting the numbers in January 2003.

 Army Medical Surveillance Activity - Amputations Jan. 2003 - Jan. 2017
Army Medical Surveillance Activity. Deployment-related condition of special surveillance interest: amputations. Amputations of lower and upper extremities, U.S. Armed Forces.
Photo Credit: U.S. Military Health System
Since the wars broke out, well over a thousand armed service members have had to have an upper and/or lower extremity amputated as a result of combat injuries during deployments. 

To accurately track amputations, AFHSB records the number of incidents by each service of the armed forces to track distribution, impact and trends. The AFHSB chief, Army Col. Douglas Badzik said such analyses help provide “a force that is healthy and ready to carry out its mission.”

June and July of 2011 say more combat-caused amputations than any other months since Jan. 2003. Both months saw more than 35 amputations each.

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), commonly referred to as roadside bombs, were one of the primary causes of amputations among combat forces over the past 13 years. Improvements in protective equipment, including safer vehicles, as well as innovations in battlefield medical care have helped to decrease these numbers.

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