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Phantom Limb Pain: How TMR Can Help

Did you know that about 70% of amputees experience phantom limb pain? This condition results when the severed nerves continue to send signals to your brain, and it may arise as pain, itching, sensations of hot or cold, a feeling of pressure, or a pins-and-needles sensation. 

Sometimes phantom limb pain results from the development of a neuroma, a group of nerve and scar tissues that becomes hypersensitive. Even slight pressure or touch on the area of the neuroma can create phantom limb pain. 

Losing a limb is difficult enough, but having to live with phantom limb pain can disrupt your daily life and may make wearing your prosthetic limb nearly impossible. Fortunately, thanks to innovations in medicine and microsurgery, there’s hope for those struggling with phantom limb pain. 

At Anthony Echo, M.D., in Houston, Texas, board-certified surgeon Dr. Echo applies his training and experience in microsurgery and peripheral nerve surgery to treat patients suffering from phantom limb pain using a surgical technique called targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR). 

Learn what’s involved in TMR and how it can help resolve your phantom limb pain. 

What is TMR and how can it help?

TMR, or targeted muscle reinnervation, takes the severed nerves and surgically reroutes them by reassigning them to other motor nerves. As a result, a new neural circuit is created. In other words, the severed nerves have a new place to send their signals, reducing or eliminating your phantom limb pain. 

If Dr. Echo finds you’re a candidate for TMR, he begins with an evaluation of your pain using diagnostic testing to identify which nerves or neuromas are triggering the sensations. It takes time for the nerves and muscles to heal, so after your surgery it can take about six months for you to enjoy optimal results.  

TMR is highly effective, and most patients enjoy a significant reduction or elimination of their pain. However, TMR is most effective when used with other treatment modalities. That’s why Dr. Echo collaborates with the rest of your team, making sure all your needs are met. 

Am I a candidate for TMR?

The only way to know for certain whether you’re a candidate for TMR for phantom limb pain is to meet with Dr. Echo to review your specific case. Generally speaking, however, candidates for TMR are patients with:

For qualified candidates, TMR is a reliable method of reducing phantom limb pain. Dr. Echo also offers other solutions, including regenerative peripheral nerve interface (RPNI), which deactivates the nerve, neuroma transection/excision, which removes the troublesome neuroma, and stump revision, which corrects stumps that did not heal properly. 

Don’t suffer in silence from phantom limb pain. Contact Anthony Echo, M.D., in Houston, Texas, and schedule a consultation to review your case, or request an appointment online now.

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