• October, 2018
  • Dumanian GA
  • Potter BK
  • Mioton LM
  • Ko JH
  • Cheesborough JE
  • Souza JM
  • Ertl WJ
  • Tintle SM
  • Nanos GP
  • Valerio IL
  • Kuiken TA
  • Apkarian AV
  • Porter K
  • Jordan SW



To compare targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) to ‘‘standard treatment’’ of neuroma excision and burying into muscle for postamputation pain. Summary Background Data: To date, no intervention is consistently effective for neuroma-related residual limb or phantom limb pain (PLP). TMR is a nerve transfer procedure developed for prosthesis control, incidentally found to improve postamputation pain.


A prospective, randomized clinical trial was conducted. 28 amputees with chronic pain were assigned to standard treatment or TMR. Primary outcome was change between pre- and postoperative numerical rating scale (NRS, 0–10) pain scores for residual limb pain and PLP at 1 year. Secondary outcomes included NRS for all patients at final follow-up, PROMIS pain scales, neuroma size, and patient function.


In intention-to-treat analysis, changes in PLP scores at 1 year were 3.2 versus -0.2 (difference 3.4, adjusted confidence interval (aCI) -0.1 to 6.9, adjusted P = 0.06) for TMR and standard treatment, respectively. Changes in residual limb pain scores were 2.9 versus 0.9 (difference 1.9, aCI -0.5 to 4.4, P = 0.15). In longitudinal mixed model analysis, difference in change scores for PLP was significantly greater in the TMR group compared with standard treatment [mean (aCI) = 3.5 (0.6, 6.3), P = 0.03]. Reduction in residual limb pain was favorable for TMR (P = 0.10). At longest follow-up, including 3 crossover patients, results favored TMR over standard treatment.


In this first surgical RCT for the treatment of postamputation pain in major limb amputees, TMR improved PLP and trended toward improved residual limb pain compared with conventional neurectomy.