Phantom Pain | Illinois Pain Institute

Phantom Pain

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Amputations involving an upper or lower limb is a life changing event. The most common amputations are due to peripheral vascular disease, most commonly caused by diabetes mellitus. Traumatic amputations are more common in young adults.


Phantom sensation is sometimes common after surgery and usually of little consequence, but persistent phantom pain can be disabling, causing difficulty with post-surgical wound care and eventual prosthesis fitting and use.


A series of peripheral and possibly sympathetic nerve blocks as well as medication management can alleviate the pain allowing the patient to tolerate physical therapy for range of motion and desensitization exercises to restore their functional ability and quality of life.


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