Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery offers services and programs through the following Divisions. Use these links to directly access all our Department sites.

Orthotics & Prosthetics

Above Knee / Transfemoral Amputation

An amputation that occurs through the femur is a transfemoral or above knee (AK) amputation. This is a common level for oncology patients. The complexity of this level of amputation is that the patient who desires a prosthesis , now has to control two joints (knee and ankle) through mechanical means. Suspension of the prosthesis and comfort also become an issue at this level.

  • There are many types of above knee prostheses. The type that an amputee is fit with depends on the shape of the residual limb, the length of the residual limb, activity level, prognosis, and individual preference.
  • A transfemoral amputee is unable to bear weight on the bottom of the residual limb. In order to keep the weight off the bottom of the limb, traditionally, the amputee must support his body weight on the ischial tuberosity (seat bone), the soft tissue of the limb, and the gluteal tissues. Therefore, the AK amputee will always feel some pressure because he is essentially sitting on top of the socket. Through the use of new socket technology developed at UCSF, this pressure is being eliminated.
  • Patient treatment video