Targeted Muscle Reinnervation at the Time of Upper-Extremity Amputation for the Treatment of Pain Severity and Symptoms

Andrew L. O'Brien, Sumanas W. Jordan, Julie M. West, Lauren M. Mioton, Gregory A. Dumanian, Ian L. Valerio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose: Targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) is a technique for the management of peripheral nerves in amputation. Phantom limb pain (PLP) and residual limb pain (RLP) trouble many patients after amputation, and TMR has been shown to reduce this pain when performed after the initial amputation. We hypothesize that TMR at the time of amputation may improve pain for patients after major upper-extremity amputation. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of patients who underwent major upper-extremity amputation with TMR performed at the time of the index amputation (early TMR). Phantom limb pain and RLP intensity and associated symptoms were assessed using the numeric rating scale (NRS), the Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Pain Intensity Short-Form 3a, the Pain Behavior Short-Form 7a, and the Pain Interference Short-Form 8a. The TMR cohort was compared with benchmarked data from a sample of upper-extremity amputees. Results: Sixteen patients underwent early TMR and were compared with 55 benchmark patients. More than half of early TMR patients were without PLP (62%) compared with 24% of controls. Furthermore, half of all patients were free of RLP compared with 36% of controls. The median PROMIS PLP intensity score for the general sample was 47 versus 38 in the early TMR sample. Patients who underwent early TMR reported reduced pain behaviors and interference specific to PLP (50 vs 53 and 41 vs 50, respectively). The PROMIS RLP intensity score was lower in patients with early TMR (36 vs 47). Conclusions: This study demonstrates that early TMR is a promising strategy for treating pain and improving the quality of life in the upper-extremity amputee. Early TMR may preclude the need for additional surgery and represents an important technique for peripheral nerve surgery. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72.e1-72.e10
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Amputation
  • phantom limb pain
  • residual limb pain
  • targeted muscle reinnervation
  • upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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