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Is infection in a diabetic a cause for concern?

Q: My father is 72 and a diabetic. Recently he had a minor surgery - biopsy of his arm for skin cancer. His arm is now infected and he is on antibiotics. He was not prescribed antibiotics prior to this test. My question is, will he lose his arm? What is the percentage rate of recovery for people who are diabetic and have infections due to surgery?

A:I can understand your concern. Any infection in a diabetic is a cause of concern. However, the limb loss rate is low, and lower for the arm than for the lower limb. I do not know how bad the infection is, but I think that the chances of limb loss should be less than 1%. I presume that your physician is taking care of the diabetes. Are you asking about limb loss from the cancer? I cannot answer this without knowing the extent. Skin cancer usually does not need amputation. However, cancer is a bigger threat to the limb than diabetes.

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