Complete left upper limb amputation. Digital photograph of post-traumatic anterior thorax demonstrating complete absence of left upper extremity and shoulder, 14 weeks after initial injury.
Phantom limb sensation and phantom limb pain is a very common issue after amputations. In recent years there has been accumulating data implicating 'mirror visual feedback' or 'mirror therapy' as helpful in the treatment of phantom limb sensation and phantom limb pain.
We present the case of a 24-year-old Caucasian man, a left upper limb amputee, treated with mirror visual feedback combined with auditory feedback with improved pain relief. The full-time student, 1.8 m tall, 77 kg in weight, with no significant medical history, a non-smoker, taking no medications and with no substance misuse, was riding a motorcycle while wearing a helmet; he collided with a moving automobile and was ejected over 30 m into the air. He sustained multiple injuries including a large chest wall avulsion and a severe partial amputation of the left arm. The limb was not salvageable, requiring amputation, with a small residual fragment of the left scapula remaining (Figure 1). Left scapulothoracic dislocation and severed left brachial plexus were also found intra-operatively. His head, right arm and lower extremities were grossly intact.
This case may suggest that auditory feedback might enhance the effectiveness of mirror visual feedback and serve as a valuable addition to the complex multi-sensory processing of body perception in patients who are amputees.
Source: Wilcher et al. Journal of Medical Case Reports 2011 5:41 doi:10.1186/1752-1947-5-41
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