Surgical Procedure Reduces Phantom Limb Pain
Fourteen of 15 patients report positive response to treatment
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have developed a "simple and useful" surgical technique to reduce phantom limb pain, according to a report in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Lukas Prantl, M.D., of the University of Regensburg in Regensburg, Germany, and colleagues used the procedure on 15 patients with lower limb amputation. The technique involves splitting and reattaching the sciatic nerve near the popliteal fossa in a sling fashion using an epiperineurial technique. The nerves were covered with a fibrin patch and a local catheter used to deliver anesthetic.
The authors report that 14 of 15 patients defined the procedure as "very helpful," and reduced pain intensity scores for up to one year. In addition, the overall duration of pain attacks were reduced from 120 minutes to less than 10 minutes.
"Continuous local anesthetic perfusion of amputated nerves by means of a catheter provided good postoperative analgesia," the authors write. They intend to "perform future investigations to test their operative method in a prospective, randomized, matched control study including electrophysiologic tests for more objective pain assessment."