To determine the relationship between prosthesis ownership and phantom limb pain, researchers in Germany performed regression analyses based on survey data from 2,383 people with unilateral upper- or lower-limb amputations who used prostheses. The research team found that prostheses based on natural principles were associated with higher prosthesis ownership, phantom limb pain and residual limb pain were lower with greater prosthesis ownership, and residual limb pain was lower when prosthesis use was frequent.
To test for specificity, the researchers examined the role of prosthesis ownership for residual limb pain and non-painful phantom limb sensations. There were no significant associations for non-painful phantom limb sensations.
The study concluded that prosthesis ownership was reduced in older participants and was higher in the people with lower-limb amputations compared to those with upper-limb amputations. A longer residual limb and more frequent prosthesis use as well as a longer time since amputation also yielded higher values.
The study, Relationship of prosthesis ownership and phantom limb pain: results of a survey in 2,383 limb amputees, was published in the journal Pain.