Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I'm really suffering from the pain of a problem called CRPS. At this point I'd rather have my arm cut off than continue to live like this. Is this ever done for patients?

Amputation of a limb is used only on rare occasions for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). All other forms of treatment are tried first. Before you consider amputation review the various treatment options. These may include medications, physical therapy, and nerve blocks. A spinal cord stimulator has been tried with some patients. The idea is to stop or rechannel pain signals at the spinal cord level.

There are some reports from patients with CRPS who had an arm or leg cut off. In all cases the patients still had severe pain. With the limb gone this type of pain is called phantom limb pain. For those who had partial pain relief, it only lasted a short time. A few weeks later severe stump pain started.

There's no easy answer to the intractable chronic pain of CRPS. If at all possible, it's better to keep the limb for whatever function, balance, and cosmetics it offers to the body. There are no guarantees that cutting it off is the answer to this problem.


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