Mortimer, C M and Steedman, W M and McMillan, Ian R and Ravey, J (1998) Phantom Sensation and Phantom Pain I: An Overview of the Literature. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 5 (6). pp. 295-298. ISSN 1741-1645
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This article, the first of two, reviews the literature relating to patients’ experiences of phantom sensation and phantom pain and looks at recommendations for education and support during rehabilitation. In the past the lack of a firm physiological explanation led health-care professionals to assume a psychological origin. Recent research has established that phantom phenomena have a neurophysiological basis involving a complex interaction of peripheral and central mechanisms. The literature now supports preoperative or early postoperative education about the likely occurrence and basis of phantom phenomena as an effective step in the management of this complex problem. However, there is a lack of published guidelines which are readily available to professionals working in the rehabilitation of amputees.
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