Can neural blocks prevent phantom limb pain?

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Abstract

Phantom limb syndrome (PLS) is a syndrome including stump pain, phantom limb pain and not-painful phantom sensations, which involves a large part of amputee patients and often has devastating effects on their quality of life. The efficacy of standard therapies is very poor. Nerve blocks have been investigated for the treatment and prevention of PLS. Epidural and peripheral blocks limited to the first three postamputation days can only reduce acute pain but cannot prevent the later development of PLS. Recent studies have shown that ambulatory prolonged peripheral nerve block (up to 30 days postamputation) may represent a new possible option to treat phantom pain and prevent the development of PLS and chronic pain.

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