Modified Prosthesis May Reduce Phantom Limb Pain

Researchers at the University of Jena, Germany have developed a prosthesis that may help reduce phantom limb pain. Phantom limb pain, which according to some studies may affect up to 80% of amputees, is an often intermittent, painful post-amputation sensation. This neuropathic pain is the result of a series of peripheral and central nervous system changes that follow amputation. It can be excruciating and is very difficult to treat.

Professor Weiss and his team have modified a conventional hand prosthesis to relay sensory information from the prosthetic hand to the upper limb. The concept is that by providing sensory feedback, central nervous system reorganization can be reduced or reversed. The group reports positive results in the first patients tested and plans to further extend testing to as many patients as possible.

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