Assistive technologies for pain management in people with amputation: a literature review

Mil Med Res. 2018 Jan 23;5(1):1. doi: 10.1186/s40779-018-0151-z.


The prevalence of limb amputation is increasing globally as a devastating experience that can physically and psychologically affect the lifestyle of a person. The residual limb pain and phantom limb pain are common disabling sequelae after amputation surgery. Assistive devices/technologies can be used to relieve pain in people with amputation. The existing assistive devices/technologies for pain management in people with amputation include electrical nerve block devices/technologies, TENS units, elastomeric pumps and catheters, residual limb covers, laser systems, myoelectric prostheses and virtual reality systems, etc. There is a great potential to design, fabricate, and manufacture some portable, wireless, smart, and thin devices/technologies to stimulate the spinal cord or peripheral nerves by electrical, thermal, mechanical, and pharmaceutical stimulus. Although some preliminary efforts have been done, more attention must be paid by researchers, clinicians, designers, engineers, and manufacturers to the post amputation pain and its treatment methods.

Keywords: Acute pain; Amputation stumps; Amputees; Chronic pain; Pain; Pain management; Self-help devices.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amputation*
  • Extremities
  • Humans
  • Pain Management / instrumentation*
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Self-Help Devices / trends*