After amputation of a limb (or even for congenitally absent limbs), many people report that they can still feel the presence of or in the missing arm or leg or have a vivid awareness of its absence. For example, they may feel able to move it or it may sometimes itch or be painful. These are called phantom limbs. Although they are called 'phantoms', they are very real to the person who experiences it. They have a biological basis and are not made up. Nor are they wishful thinking, or a simple memory of the missing limb (e.g. some phantom limbs are different in size to the previous limb).
By studying phantom limbs we hope to gain a better scientific understanding of how the brain creates bodily sensations. We hope that you find this website informative. If you have a malformed limb or have had a limb amputated then we may be interested in including you in our research, even if you don't presently experience a phantom limb sensation.