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Abeer Fatima
Abeer Fatimaover 1 year ago
Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment Options of Phantom Limb Phenomenon

Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment Options of Phantom Limb Phenomenon

Phantom limb phenomenon refers to perception of sensations in the limb that has been amputated. These sensations may range from painful stimuli to comforting feel such as a light stroke. The cause of phantom limb phenomena is not known. It is thought to arise from brain’s effort to reorganize the signals from the amputated limb. These sensations come from the nerve supply of the limb that has been removed. Not all people who undergo limb amputation suffer from phantom limb phenomenon. The most common risk factors are: -history of spinal cord injury or peripheral nerve -unplanned, sudden amputation e.g., secondary to trauma -pain in limb before amputation -infection in limb before removal -type of anesthesia used during amputation Phantom limb phenomenon is more common in adults as compared to children. The signs and symptoms experienced by patients are: -sudden stabbing, piercing, sharp pain -numbness -tingling -spasms -sensation of clothing or jewelry on amputated limb -occasional relaxing sensations e.g., light touch -the sensation of presence of healthy, functional limb There is no diagnostic test for phantom limb phenomenon. The diagnosis is based on the history given by the patient. The past medical history and past surgical history are significant. Physical examination is also done for any remarkable findings. The phantom limb phenomenon is often self-limiting and gets better with time. However, in case of persistent symptoms, particularly pain, various treatment options are available. These include: -antipsychotics -muscle relaxants -antidepressants -anticonvulsants -analgesics Apart for pharmacological options, electric nerve stimulation can also be done in order to calm the nerves. This technique includes transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and spinal cord stimulation. Conservative management of phantom limb phenomenon can be done by exercise, meditation, hypnosis, relaxation techniques, massage, and acupuncture. Reference: https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=96857#:~:text=Phantom%20limb%20syndrome%20is%20the,feel%22%20for%20the%20missing%20limb. Image courtesy: https://www.sepainandspinecare.com/phantom-limb-pain-causes-and-treatments/

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