Amputation of the upper extremity due to chronic, refractory CRPS: a case report

Andrzej Żyluk


Chronic refractory complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is the severest form of this condition characterised by acute pain, other painful phenomena (hyperpathia, allodynia), severe functional impairment of the affected extremity and non-responsiveness to standard treatments. This paper presents a case of a 40-year-old man suffering from this form of CRPS, in whom all treatment options, including non-standard appeared ineffective. The patient suffered from intractable pain and a completely disabled extremity was considered by him a burden, additionally affecting his daily living. After a review of the literature and informing the patient about the potential benefits and the potential risk of failure of surgery, at the request of the patient an amputation of the upper extremity was performed at the level of 1/3 distal arm. The postoperative course was uneventful, but amputation did not result in cessation of the pain which persisted in the residual limb. The presented case shows that limb amputation for chronic refractory CRPS may not give expected beneficial effect.


chronic CRPS; resistance to therapy; limb amputation

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