Background The burden of diabetes mellitus (DM) and its associated complications continue to burgeon, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Lower limb amputation (LLA) is one of the most life-altering complications of DM, associated with significant morbidity, mortality and socio-economic impacts. High-income countries have reported a decreasing incidence of DM-associated LLA, but the situation in many LMICs is unknown. We aim to conduct a systematic review to determine the incidence and prevalence of DM-associated LLA in LMICs to better inform appropriate interventions and health system response. Methods and analysis A systematic search of the literature will be conducted on five databases: MEDLINE, Embase, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Scopus and African Journal Online (AJOL). Only observational, quantitative studies reporting the incidence and/or prevalence of DM-related LLA will be considered. A validated study design-specific critical appraisal tool will be used to assess the risk of bias in individual studies. We will determine the incidence of LLA by examining the number of new cases of LLA among individuals with confirmed DM diagnosis during the specified period, while the prevalence will be based on the total number of all new and existing LLAs in a population. LLA will be considered as the resection of the lower limb from just above the knee to any point down to the toe. If heterogeneity is low to moderate, a random-effects meta-analysis will be conducted on extracted crude prevalence/incidence rates, with the median and interquartile range also reported. The systematic review will be performed in accordance with the JBI guideline for prevalence and incidence review. Study reporting will follow the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guideline.
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