Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Title: Anesthetic Considerations for Phantom Limb Pain

Background: Phantom limb pain (PLP) is a phenomenon where pain develops or is perceived in a body part that has been removed. With the prevalence of peripheral vascular disease secondary to diabetes, amputation rates are expected to increase in the next decade. Chronic pain syndromes such as phantom limb pain are difficult to manage and treat

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to detennine if preemptive analgesia for limb amputation is effective in the prevention of PLP

Process: A comprehensive review of the literature was perfonned using multiple databases from the Harley E. French Library of Health Sciences at the University of North Dakota. Databases searched included PubMed, CINAHL, and Scopus. Research findings were extensively reviewed to detennine relevance to the research question

Results: Although extensive research has been perfonned, the exact mechanism for the development of chronic neuropathic PLP remains a mystery. The large variation in the prevalence, symptoms and development suggests a multifactorial origin for PLP. Many theories have evolved ranging from pathologic changes of somatosensory systems to cortical reorganization of higher brain structures. Inconsistent results from multiple clinical studies of different preemptive analgesic techniques have added to the mystery of PLP. Specific treatment guidelines have not been universally accepted. However, researchers agree that preemptive analgesia is beneficial for alleviating pain in the preoperative and immediate postoperative period

Implication: Pain is a constant battle in the field of anesthesia. Anesthesia professionals should be versed in the pathophysiology of pain and methods to alleviate pain syndromes in patients