Temperature profiles extending from the deep muscle out to the surface at points above and below the knee were measured using a 22 gauge thermistor probe in the form of a hypodermic needle in 15 ischemic limbs before amputation and 3 normal limbs before elective surgery. Of the 15 ischemic limbs studied, 8 had below-knee and 7 above-knee amputations, all of which healed without requiring revision. The mean difference between the maximum deep muscle temperature measured 15 cm above and 10 cm below the knee was 1.01 °C in the below-knee amputation group, 2.88 °C in the above-knee amputation group and 1.06 °C in the normal group. The temperature difference in the below-knee and above-knee groups was statistically significant (p <0.027). This relatively simple and easily performed technique of measuring deep muscle temperature appears to be a useful adjunct in choosing the amputation level.
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