NO FORM of post-traumatic neuralgia causes greater distress to its victims, or is more difficult to relieve, than the painful phantom of an amputated limb. Ten years ago Bailey and Moersch,1 after summarizing the experience at the Mayo Clinic, found that no form of surgical intervention was effective. They concluded that the disagreeable postural illusions and painful sensations must originate at supraspinal levels and that their "origin is central (that is, intracranial) and most probably psychic." This opinion is still frequently cited, and the general consensus is that anterolateral chordotomy generally fails to relieve the painful phantom of the amputee (Browder and Gallagher2; Horrax3). Riddoch,4 who wrote one of the best descriptions of this condition, was not so pessimistic and stated that "when... pain in the phantom is successfully abolished by lateral cordotomy..., the phantom may behave as if it has been painless from the first."
WHITE JC, SWEET WH. EFFECTIVENESS OF CHORDOTOMY IN PHANTOM PAIN AFTER AMPUTATION. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1952;67(3):315–322. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1952.02320150048004
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