phantom limb

Last reviewed 01/2018

A phantom limb describes the phenomenon where a patient continues to be aware of a part of his body that has been lost.

This condition is most often experienced with respect to amputation of a limb but can occur after the removal of any part of the body e.g. breasts, genitalia.

Also a phantom limb may occur following a 'jousting' injury to the shoulder suffered by motor-cyclists in road traffic accidents. In this type of injury, the nerves of the brachial plexus may be torn, or completely avulsed, from the spinal cord in the neck.

The phantom limb may be painful.