[Skip to Navigation]
Sign In
February 1978

A Burning Issue: Phantom Limb Pain and Psychological Preparation of the Patient for Amputation

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry, University of California at San Francisco, University of California at Los Angeles, and Valley Medical Center of Fresno (Calif), and the Fresno County Department of Health (Dr Solomon), and the Applied Human Development Corporation, Mountain View, Calif (Dr Schmidt).

Arch Surg. 1978;113(2):185-186. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1978.01370140075015

• Fantasies concerning an amputated limb can contribute to the occurrence of persistent phantom limb pain. We report a case in which burning pain perceived as located in the amputated lower extremities was related to the patient's feelings about incineration of the removed limbs against her wishes. Hypnotherapy involving elucidation of the fantasy and suggestion was successfully employed in this case and may be a helpful approach in other such cases. Importantly, adequate preparation of the patient for amputation, including an awareness of concerns about the disposition of the limb, may help prevent pathological limb sensations.

(Arch Surg 113:185-186, 1978)

Add or change institution