• Pain in traumatic upper limb amputees in Sierra Leone.

      Lacoux, P; Crombie, I K; Macrae, W A; Medecins Sans Frontieres, 8, Rue St Sabin, Paris XI, France. (2002-09)
      Data on 40 upper limb amputees (11 bilateral) with regard to stump pain, phantom sensation and phantom pain is presented. All the patients lost their limbs as a result of violent injuries intended to terrorise the population and were assessed 10-48 months after the injury. All amputees reported stump pain in the month prior to interview and ten of the 11 bilateral amputees had bilateral pain. Phantom sensation was common (92.5%), but phantom pain was only present in 32.5% of amputees. Problems in translation and explanation may have influenced the low incidence of phantom pain and high incidence of stump pain. In the bilateral amputees phantom sensation, phantom pain and telescoping all showed bilateral concordance, whereas stump pain and neuromas did not show concordance. About half the subjects (56%) had lost their limb at the time of injury (primary) while the remainder had an injury, then a subsequent amputation in hospital (secondary). There was no association between the incidence of phantom pain and amputation irrespective of being primary or secondary.
    • Treatment of neuropathic pain in Sierra Leone.

      Lacoux, P; Ford, N; Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, Scotland, UK. office@london.msf.uk (Elsevier, 2002-07)
      During Sierra Leone's violent decade-long war, the warring parties used amputation, especially of arms, as a means of terror. In a camp for amputees in the capital city Freetown, Médecins Sans Frontières established a clinic and a treatment programme for neuropathic pain. Insecurity and cultural and language barriers have complicated this work, but medical and humanitarian benefits have been demonstrated. Pain services are virtually non-existent in less-developed countries. There have recently been no major treatment advances for neuropathic or phantom pain; however, the general body of knowledge about amputation pain can be increased by observations from these difficult settings.