Phantom limb pain (PLP) is when painful stimuli is perceived in the area of the lost limb. This is not to be confused with Residual limb pain (RSL), which is located at the stump. For example, the area of amputation such as the arm can result in pain sensory in the “phantom” thumb. Management for phantom limb pain is usually done by an injection of local anesthesia at the peripheral nerve (Moesker, 2014). New studies demonstrate effective use of cyroanalgesia to resolve PLP. In a study conducted by Moesker et al (2014), 5 patients with an amputation participated in being administered cyroanalgesia for their PLP. Cyroanaglesia is a specialized technique able to provide long-term relief of chronic pain my applying cold which acts as a conduction block that works similar to local anesthesia (Moesker, 2014). Three of these patients experienced a 90-100% decrease in their pain levels, 1 with a 60% decrease, and the last one with a 40% decrease (Moesker, 2014). For long-term pain treatment this demonstrated positive effects as the average follow-up time was 1.2 years (Moesker, 2014). Patients who lose their limb to trauma or PVD may now have an option of cyroanalgesia for long-term pain management.
Moesker, A. A., Karl, H. W., & Trescot, A. M. (2014). Treatment of Phantom Limb Pain by Cryoneurolysis of the Amputated Nerve. Pain Practice, 14(1), 52-56. doi:10.1111/papr.12020