Chang BL, Mondshine J, Attinger CE, Kleiber GM. Targeted Muscle Reinnervation Improves Pain and Ambulation Outcomes in Highly Comorbid Amputees. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2021 Aug 1;148(2):376-386. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000008153. PMID: 34398088.
Approximately 200,000 people undergo a lower extremity amputation each year. Following amputation, patients suffer from chronic pain, inability to ambulate, and high mortality rates. Targeted muscle reinnervation is a nerve transfer procedure that redirects transected sensory and mixed nerves into motor nerves to treat neuroma and phantom limb pain. This study evaluates outcomes with prophylactic targeted muscle reinnervation at the time of below-knee amputation.
This is a cohort study comparing 100 patients undergoing below-knee amputation with primary targeted muscle reinnervation and 100 patients undergoing below-knee amputation with standard traction neurectomy and muscle implantation. Outcome metrics included the presence of residual and phantom limb pain, pain severity, opioid use, ambulation ability, and mortality rates.
The targeted muscle reinnervation group was on average 60 years old with a body mass index of 29 kg/m2. Eighty-four percent had diabetes, 55 percent had peripheral vascular disease, and 43 percent had end-stage renal disease. Average follow-up was 9.6 months for the targeted muscle reinnervation group and 18.5 months for the nontargeted muscle reinnervation group. Seventy-one percent of targeted muscle reinnervation patients were pain free, compared with 36 percent (p < 0.01). Fourteen percent of targeted muscle reinnervation patients had residual limb pain, compared with 57 percent (p < 0.01). Nineteen percent of targeted muscle reinnervation patients had phantom limb pain, compared with 47 percent (p < 0.01). Six percent of targeted muscle reinnervation patients were on opioids, compared with 26 percent (p < 0.01); and 90.9 percent of targeted muscle reinnervation patients were ambulatory, compared with 70.5 percent (p < 0.01).
Targeted muscle reinnervation reduces pain and improves ambulation in patients undergoing below-knee amputation, which may be critical in improving morbidity and mortality rates in this comorbid patient population.
Clinical question/level of evidence. Therapeutic, III.
Copyright © 2021 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.