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Phantom limb pain is described as abnormal sensation (painful or non painful) from an amputated limb. Phantom limb pain is a very common condition in patients undergoing amputation regardless of the cause of amputation. The condition can be very disabling and therefore should be differentiated from non-painful phantom sensation, residual limb pain and stump pain secondary to bony overgrowths. There is overwhelming evidence regarding central nervous system changes in phantom limb pain, however the role of peripheral mechanisms and psychological factors are as important in the pathogenesis of phantom limb pain. The treatment of phantom limb pain is difficult and challenging. The evidence for the use of pharmacological approaches fro phantom limb pain is weak and non-pharmacological approaches do not work for most of the patients. Prolonged phantom limb pain interferes with the ongoing rehabilitation and prosthetic fitting leading to poor functional outcome. The prognosis of phantom pain varies and in some cases spontaneous resolution can occur following few years.
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