Pain in traumatic upper limb amputees in Sierra Leone

Pain. 2002 Sep;99(1-2):309-12. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3959(02)00154-9.


Data on 40 upper limb amputees (11 bilateral) with regard to stump pain, phantom sensation and phantom pain is presented. All the patients lost their limbs as a result of violent injuries intended to terrorise the population and were assessed 10-48 months after the injury. All amputees reported stump pain in the month prior to interview and ten of the 11 bilateral amputees had bilateral pain. Phantom sensation was common (92.5%), but phantom pain was only present in 32.5% of amputees. Problems in translation and explanation may have influenced the low incidence of phantom pain and high incidence of stump pain. In the bilateral amputees phantom sensation, phantom pain and telescoping all showed bilateral concordance, whereas stump pain and neuromas did not show concordance. About half the subjects (56%) had lost their limb at the time of injury (primary) while the remainder had an injury, then a subsequent amputation in hospital (secondary). There was no association between the incidence of phantom pain and amputation irrespective of being primary or secondary.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Amputation Stumps
  • Amputation, Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Arm Injuries / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroma / epidemiology
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Phantom Limb / epidemiology*
  • Sierra Leone / epidemiology
  • Warfare