August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Using mirror box therapy to treat phantom pain in Haitian earthquake victims
Author Affiliations
  • Claude Miller
    Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California San Diego
  • Elizabeth Seckel
    Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California San Diego
  • V.S. Ramachandran
    Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California San Diego
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 1323. doi:10.1167/12.9.1323
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      Claude Miller, Elizabeth Seckel, V.S. Ramachandran; Using mirror box therapy to treat phantom pain in Haitian earthquake victims. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1323. doi: 10.1167/12.9.1323.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

The day following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the queue for amputations was more than 1,000 patients long. Surgeons therefore had to resort to guillotine-style amputations, which may increase the prevalence of phantom limb pain – the vivid impression that the limb is not only still present but extremely painful. We have previously shown (Ramachandran and Rogers-Ramachandran, 1996; Altschuler and Scott, 2011) that mirror box therapy using visual feedback may relieve pain present in a phantom limb. We explored the effectiveness in treating phantom limb pain with mirror box therapy in a disaster stricken area, specifically Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Lower limb patients were recruited from the Hanger Clinic, a prosthetics clinic on the campus of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital. Seventeen out of eighteen lower limb amputees reported a significant reduction in phantom pain while using mirror box therapy. The foundation was laid for the on-going practical implementation of this inexpensive and non-intrusive therapy. Further studies might explore how this therapy could best be integrated into the challenging medical environment of the region.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012

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