Prospective diary study of nonpainful and painful phantom sensations in a preselected sample of child and adolescent amputees reporting phantom limbs.
Wilkins, Krista L.
McGrath, Patrick J.
MetadataShow full item record
Objective: To prospectively study factors associated with the occurrence of phantom sensations and pains in a pre-selected sample of child and adolescent amputees reporting phantom limbs. Design: Prospective diary study over 1 month. Participants: Fourteen child and adolescent amputees from 10-18 years of age who were missing a limb due to trauma (n = 12) or congenital limb deficiency (n = 2), and who had previously reported having phantom sensations and pain. Main Outcome Measure: Diary used to assess the occurrence of non-painful and painful phantom sensations. Items included age, sex, location and cause of amputation, past experience with stump pain and pre-amputation pain, and intensity, quality, duration, and triggers of the sensations and pains. Results: Thirteen amputees reported having 104 incidents of non-painful phantom sensations with an average intensity of 4.17 (SD = 2.14) on a 0-10 rating scale. Fifty-three incidents of phantom pain with an average intensity of 6.43 (SD = 1.76) were recorded by 8 amputees. Both amputees with a congenital limb deficiency reported phantom phenomena. Girls reported more psychosocial triggers than did boys whereas boys were more likely than girls to report that they could not identify a trigger (P = 0.0001). Boys also reported a higher proportion of physical triggers than psychosocial triggers while there were no differences for girls (P = 0.0001). Discussion: Child and adolescent amputees experience phantom sensations and pains on a regular basis over a 1-month period. Differences in triggers of phantom phenomena between boys and girls may be due to differences in activities, awareness, attribution, and willingness to report psychosocial triggers.