Skip to main content

In Grey’s Anatomy , Arizona loses a leg due to the horrific plane crash from season 8. The accident killed Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) and Mark Sloan’s (Eric Dane) deaths, and although it didn’t happen immediately, Arizona Robbins lost her leg because of the accident. 

From season 9 through season 14, when Arizona actor Jessica Capshaw left the series, the character had a prosthetic leg. Oddly enough, Capshaw only had to wear it one time in the 141 episodes that her character had it on.

'Grey's Anatomy' actor Jessica Capshaw as Arizona Robbins
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ actor Jessica Capshaw as Arizona Robbins | Craig Sjodin/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

How did Arizona Robbins lose her leg in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?

After the plane crash in season 8, Arizona developed a life-threatening infection in her leg. She was adamantly against the surgeons amputating her leg. However, when her condition worsened, Callie had to choose between saving Arizona’s life or cutting off her leg. After surgery, it took Arizona a very long time to come to terms with the loss of her leg. 

In season 9, episode 4, she finally agreed to go to the hospital to get fitted for a prosthetic leg. The Grey’s Anatomy team hired A Step Ahead Prosthetics to create the “realistic-looking, high-heeled transfemoral prosthesis” for Arizona.

The medical lab designed and built a special prop leg with a harness for a non-amputee. It was built from a cast of Capshaw’s upper thigh, and the technicians used real prosthetic components to make it. The prop was covered with a silicone skin color matching Capshaw’s skin tones. Although the doctor fits Arizona for the leg in episode 4, she did not use the specialized prop until episode 18.

Does the Arizona Robbins actor have a prosthetic leg in real life?

In a recent Grey’s Anatomy reunion on Stars in the House, Capshaw made a guest appearance. The hosts asked her the same question that many fans have asked, “What was it like filming with a prosthetic leg?” Her response was surprising. 

“So, this was a common question,” Capshaw began. “What was confusing was that I wasn’t actually filming with a prosthetic. We only shot with a prosthetic when we shot Arizona without her pants on. I didn’t film with a prosthetic very much.” 

Throughout the six seasons, there were only a handful of times where fans saw Capshaw’s prosthetic leg. Most of the time, she wasn’t wearing it. 

“It was a green screen,” she added. “It was a lot of CGI. I filmed with a prosthetic once. I tied my leg behind my back and then tied a prosthetic leg on.”

Is Jessica Capshaw returning to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’? Not yet

Jessica Capshaw’s final appearance as Arizona Robbins on Grey’s Anatomy came in the season 14 finale. The character won custody of Sofia but wanted to keep Callie in her life. The two eventually reconcile and the family reunites when Arizona moves to New York.

There have been no announcements that Capshaw will return to Grey’s Anatomy despite the character’s popularity among fans.