Limb amputations in fixed dystonia: a form of body integrity identity disorder?

Mov Disord. 2011 Jul;26(8):1410-4. doi: 10.1002/mds.23671. Epub 2011 Apr 11.


Fixed dystonia is a disabling disorder mainly affecting young women who develop fixed abnormal limb postures and pain after apparently minor peripheral injury. There is continued debate regarding its pathophysiology and management. We report 5 cases of fixed dystonia in patients who sought amputation of the affected limb. We place these cases in the context of previous reports of patients with healthy limbs and patients with chronic regional pain syndrome who have sought amputation. Our cases, combined with recent data regarding disorders of mental rotation in patients with fixed dystonia, as well as previous data regarding body integrity identity disorder and amputations sought by patients with chronic regional pain syndrome, raise the possibility that patients with fixed dystonia might have a deficit in body schema that predisposes them to developing fixed dystonia and drives some to seek amputation. The outcome of amputation in fixed dystonia is invariably unfavorable.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amputation, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Amputation, Surgical / methods*
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Dystonia / psychology*
  • Dystonia / surgery*
  • Extremities / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / complications
  • Perceptual Disorders / etiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology