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May 1950

PHANTOM LIMB PAIN AND CENTRAL PAINRelief by Ablation of a Portion of Posterior Central Cerebral Convolution

Author Affiliations

Professor in Nervous and Mental Diseases, Northwestern University Medical School CHICAGO

From the Departments of Surgery and Nervous and Mental Diseases, Northwestern University Medical School, and the Division of Neuropsychiatry, Wesley Memorial Hospital.

Arch NeurPsych. 1950;63(5):739-748. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1950.02310230061005

PHANTOM limb pain was first described by Ambroise Paré1 in 1551, and many theories have since been advanced to explain it. The present study was made with the thought of developing a form of therapy for this extremely painful entity. A review of the literature revealed an unusual variation in types of therapy. Among such procedures are removal or resection of a painful neuroma at the stump, further reamputation, sympathectomy, ganglionectomy, chordotomy, posterior rhizotomy, leukotomy and, in some cases, focal ablation of the cortex in the posterior central convolution.

In 1871 Weir Mitchell2 published his work and gave the term by which this condition is known—phantom limb pain. He stated that a person with this condition is haunted, as it were, by a constant or an inconstant fractional phantom of so much of himself as has been lopped away. He was the first to faradize the track of