DENVER – Last year was the first since U.S. military operations got underway in Iraq and Afghanistan that there were zero combat amputations for deployed U.S. soldiers, according to a new report from the armed forces.
The report was published on the official Military Health System and Defense Health Agency website and in the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, and was compiled by the agency’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance program.
The report has tracked combat amputations since January 2003. They grew steadily from 2003 (5.6 amputations per month) through 2007 (16.9 per month) before dropping in number to an average of about 7.5 per month in 2008 and 2009.
But the amputations peaked during heavy combat in both countries in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, there were an average of 16.6 combat amputations per month, and that number grew to 22 per month in 2011.
In 2012, they fell once again to 12.3 per month, then decreased steadily as troops began to pull out in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2013, the number fell to 3.3 per month, then to 0.8 per month in 2014 and 0.8 per month in 2015.
A chart included with the report shows there was 0.1 amputations per month in 2016, but the report did not consider it a combat amputation because the chart included amputations that happened in-hospital within a year of a soldier returning from deployment.
Army and Marines soldiers have seen the most combat amputations since 2003.