Phantom pain and sensation among British veteran amputees

Br J Anaesth. 1997 Jun;78(6):652-9. doi: 10.1093/bja/78.6.652.


Using a mail-delivered questionnaire, we surveyed 590 veteran amputees concerning phantom pain, phantom sensation and stump pain. They were selected randomly from a population of 2974 veterans with long-standing limb amputation(s) using a computer random number generator. Eighty-nine percent responded and of these, 55% reported phantom limb pain and 56% stump pain. There was a strong correlation between phantom pain and phantom sensation. The intensity of phantom sensation was a significant predictor for the time course of phantom pain. In only 3% of phantom limb pain sufferers did the condition become worse. One hundred and forty-nine amputees reporting phantom pain discussed their pain with their family doctors; 49 were told that there was no treatment available. Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were satisfactory methods for controlling phantom limb pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amputation / methods
  • Amputation Stumps*
  • Analgesia / methods
  • Attitude to Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Military Personnel
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain Management
  • Phantom Limb / epidemiology*
  • Phantom Limb / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology