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Nervous system ORGAN SYSTEMS

Phantom limb

Introduction

Sensation that an amputated or missing limb is still attached.

  • Occurs in 60-80% of amputees

Pathophysiology

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These schematics of the somatosensory homunculus attempt to illustrate and map the regions of the brain responsible for interpreting the sensory input from various portions of the brain. The image on the left illustrates an intact somatosensory homunculus. Note the large amount of the homunculus that the upper extremity occupies. The image on the right illustrates the void that is formed in the brain when an amputation occurs. | An Aggregate Of. (2018) Phantom Limb Pain | Bethesda Spine. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from http://bethesdaspineinstitute.com/?p=496
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Last, First. (2018) Suggested Guidelines for Treatment of Phantom Limb Pain. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from https://www.healio.com/orthopedics/journals/ortho/1982-12-5-12/%7Bbb3ebe21-109e-47db-86b7-89197b53e4fe%7D/suggested-guidelines-for-treatment-of-phantom-limb-pain#

Clinical features

Type of sensation:

  • Phantom limb pain (PLP) (M/C)
    • Ranging from tingling and itching to burning and aching
  • Gesturing, feel itches, twitch, or even try to pick things up

Management

No reliable treatment

  • Drugs (eg. antidepressants)
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Vibration therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Hypnosis
  • Biofeedback
  • Mirror box therapy

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