Introduction: National data in incidence of lower extremity amputations in the population of South Korea is lacking. Diabetes mellitus is a major risk factor for lower extremity amputations. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus is increasing faster than previously estimated in South Korea. Therefore, we investigated the trend of lower extremity amputations not only in people with diabetes, but also in the total (medically documented) population.

Method: We gathered and analyzed the data of the medically documented population, aged 20 years or older, from the Korean Health Insurance Service claims database between 2003 and 2021.

Results: Since 2003, incidence of lower extremity amputations among the total population has steadily increased, more than doubling by 2021 (6.8 to 14.5 amputations per 100,000 of population). The contribution of diabetes mellitus on lower extremity amputation has also elevated from 47% in 2003 to 70% in 2021. During the study period, the incidence of lower extremity amputations was consistently higher by more than three times in men (21.6) than in women (7.3), amputations per 100,000 of population in 2021. When foot amputations were classified by lower extremity parts, the proportion of major amputations (above ankle) has decreased slightly. In the last 10 years, the frequency and proportion of three or more repeated foot amputations has reduced (431 (9.2%) to 207 (4.1%)).

Conclusion: We reported the increasing trend of lower extremity amputation between 2003 and 2021 according to the increase in the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in South Korea. Among all lower extremity amputations, the major amputations and multiple amputations, 3 or more times, are decreasing.


J.Jeon: None. K.Lee: None. N.Kim: None. J.Back: None. N.Lee: None. S.Han: None. H.Kim: None. D.Kim: None. T.Kim: None. S.An: None.

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