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Amputation

AKA amputation

06/19/2007

Question:

After perusing the information written on AKA amputation there really is nothing that I could add except perhaps what is the answer to the occassional quite severe pains one experiences sometimes at the face of where surgery was done and occasionaly in the non-existent leg. Man, I can pinpoint the precise area of discomfort/pain. am 76 yrs. of age. AKA was carried out some 8 years ago.

Answer:

It is useful to distinguish between residual limb ("stump") pain, and phantom limb sensations (which may include pain). If your pain "at the face of where surgery was done" is located at the incision line, this pain could be due to scar tissue adhering to the edge of the underlying bone. Alternatively, you could have a painful "neuroma", which is an enlargement of the end of a nerve which was cut as part of the amputation. A painful neuroma is more likely if your symptoms feel like an "electric shock" or are lightning-like, and also if they include a "tingling" or "pins and needles" feeling. A symptomatic neuroma can also be responsible for phantom sensations.

A physical exam by a physician, and also input from a prosthetist,  should help sort this out. If you are wearing a prosthesis, proper socket fit and prosthetic alignment help minimize potentially irritating forces on the residual limb. Oral medications can help reduce pain severity. If a painful neuroma is present, injecting it with anesthetic and cortisone may provide temporary relief. Surgical treatment is usually regarded as a last resort, and may not be appropriate for symptoms such as those you've been experiencing.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University