Going through an amputation can be a very difficult and traumatic experience. Besides grieving the loss of a limb, there is also a significant chance of pain following the surgery. While various treatments are available for this, Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) is one of the most effective. Our Austin podiatrists can explain if this treatment is right for you.
TMR is a surgical treatment that has gained a solid reputation with podiatrists for treating the nerve pain many experience after an amputation. By reconnecting amputated nerves to other motor nerves in nearby muscles, pain may resolve. If you think of your arm or leg as being full of electrical wiring and your nerves are the “wires,” TMR helps to complete the “circuit.”
TMR was originally developed in 2002 to help someone with an amputated limb control their prosthetics through natural muscle movement. As the procedure was being designed, it also became clear that TMR could help with phantom limb pain.
Reasons to Speak With Your Austin Doctor About TMR
If you’ve recently had a limb amputated or years have passed since your surgery, it is always a good idea to speak to a doctor about TMR if you are experiencing pain or discomfort. When meeting with a podiatrist, there are many points of discussion you should bring up during your appointment to help determine if TMR is right for you.
What to Discuss With Your Austin Podiatrist
- The history of your amputation. Unless you have been working with your specific podiatrist prior to your amputation, your doctor will not know the history of your specific condition. Come to your appointment prepared to describe the circumstances that led to your amputation, including when and why it took place.
- Your specific experience with pain. If you are considering TMR for pain relief, discuss the type of pain you’re having. There is a difference between phantom limb pain and residual stump pain. Your podiatrist will want to know which you believe you’re experiencing, the severity of the pain, and how often it occurs.
- How you’ve managed pain in the past. If you are considering TMR, it’s possible you’ve already tried less invasive methods of pain relief. It is a good idea to discuss all medications and treatments with your podiatrist and if these treatments helped with your pain. Your doctor will also want to know if your pain has significantly hindered your ability to lead a normal life, as well as if it is getting in the way of successfully using your prosthetic. If your podiatrist believes TMR will improve your level of physical activity, ability to work, and quality of life, they will want to work with you to move forward with the surgery.
What to Expect During and After TMR Surgery
Surgery can be scary, but the benefits of TMR usually far outweigh the discomfort and anxiety that can come from the surgical process. During a TMR procedure, the surgeon will reroute your amputated nerves by attaching them to the nerves in nearby muscles. This surgery can be performed at the same time as amputation, but it can also be carried out as long as 10 years post-amputation.
The surgery usually lasts 2-4 hours and will require a few days in the hospital, depending on the complexity of your specific case.
Most TMR patients are able to return to work as soon as two weeks post-op, depending on how active your job requires you to be. It’s important to note that following TMR surgery, you might experience several weeks of pain and swelling that will make it difficult to wear your prosthetic.
How to Know If TMR Is Right for You
Surgery is always a serious decision, and it can be difficult to know if TMR is the right treatment for you. Working with a qualified Austin podiatrist can help you make this decision.
When TMR Might Be Right for You
- You are about to have your foot amputated, or if you are already had a limb amputated and are dealing with a significant amount of pain
- You are unable to work due to the pain associated with your amputation
- You haven’t been able to successfully manipulate your prosthetic in a natural way
- Pain is preventing you from socializing or maintaining relationships
- Pain is preventing you from being able to take care of yourself and complete basic household tasks
Are You Looking for a TMR Specialist in Austin, TX?
If you are looking for TMR services, you should reach out to an experienced podiatrist. Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists can help. At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, we treat injuries below the knee that affect the foot and ankle only. Our office provides a wide variety of advanced, effective treatment options for all kinds of painful conditions. Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us online or call our Austin office at 512.328.8900.