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Nurs Times. 2003 Sep 2-8;99(35):30-3.

The causes and treatments of phantom limb pain.

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  • 1Acute Pain Service, Nevill Hall Hospital, Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust.


Almost all patients who undergo amputation suffer 'phantom sensations', a sensory perception of the missing limb, possibly caused by a neural imprint or memory of the limb within the brain. The patient may experience abnormal kinaesthetic sensation, such as the feeling that the limb is in an abnormal position. Perceived changes in length, size or temperature of the limb are also common. Some of these people will go on to develop phantom limb pain (PLP). Appropriate aggressive pain management is required immediately postamputation in an attempt to avoid chronic PLP.

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