TMR at the time of amputation may be an option if you can medically tolerate the additional surgery time required. TMR is not a treatment option for patients with spinal cord injuries, brachial plexus injuries, or who are generally not healthy enough for surgery. Your physician will help you determine whether TMR is right for you.
Once you decide to have TMR surgery, your surgeon may perform a test to determine whether TMR will be effective to reduce your pain. This simple test involves the injection of a numbing agent to the site of your pain.
If your surgeon or rehabilitation team is not familiar or experienced with TMR, you may want to consider a second opinion in treating your post-amputation pain.
What can I expect?
- Once you decide to proceed with TMR, you can expect your surgery to be scheduled following your first consultation.
- A TMR surgery lasts two to four hours and usually requires a hospital stay of one to five days, depending on the extent of your surgery and your post-operative pain management needs.
- Your physician will schedule follow-up appointments at two weeks, four weeks, three months, six months and 12 months post-surgery, with annual follow ups.
- If you plan to have a prosthetic and had TMR at the time of amputation, you will begin the fitting process at four to six weeks. You will receive your prosthesis six to eight weeks after surgery.
- If you had TMR for established nerve pain, you may be back to work as early as two weeks after surgery, depending on the type of work you do.1 The return time to work varies, however. Surgical pain or swelling may make it difficult to wear your prosthetic device. Ask your doctor about this important issue.
When will I have relief from pain?
Most people experience surgery-related pain but not nerve pain immediately after the TMR procedure. The nerve then “wakes up” causing an increase in nerve pain soon after. Your doctor will prescribe medications to help manage pain following surgery. Your need for pain medication will decrease over time as the nerves heal. If the TMR procedure is successful, you will experience a reduction in both nerve pain and surgical pain compared to your pain level before having surgery.
If you currently have phantom limb pain, recovery may take longer (six to nine months) for the phantoms to improve. Over time, many people can reduce or eliminate the need for pain medications under their physician’s supervision.1