Amputated Limb Pain Clinical Trials​

Many amputation rehabilitation patients suffer from pain when wearing a mechanical artificial limb. A lack of sufficient padding between the amputated limb and the mechanical device is often the cause of painful irritation and wounds.

Experts at the UPMC Center for Innovation in Restorative Medicine are researching a new way to provide a better fit for an artificial limb for amputation rehabilitation patients using, a technique called fat grafting.

While fat grafting is a common procedure — plastic surgeons performed approximately 65,000 in 2011 — using it to improve the fit of artificial limbs is a completely new, experimental use of this well-known treatment. We believe this technique of fat grafting could be of significant benefit to patients with painful amputation stumps.

How Does Artificial Limb Fat Grafting Work?

Fat grafting is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Surgeons remove a patient’s own fat from an area where it is less needed and transfer it to areas that have lost shape or fullness.

Because fat does not have much structure or volume, artificial limb fat grafting is especially challenging.

Surgeons and researchers at UPMC are now able to maximize the effectiveness of fat grafting by:

  • Stripping down the collected fat to the most dense, stem cell-rich fat.
  • Injecting the refined fat into the stump area.

Researchers believe that this stem cell-rich fat promotes blood vessel growth and blood flow, volume, and lift. This is crucial not only for the survival of the fat graft but also to promote healing and stability.

Are Artificial Limb Fat Grafting Trials Right for You?

Military (active duty only) men and women, age 18 and older, may be eligible to participate in clinical trials.

Learn more about this current trial: Enriched Autologous Fat Grafting for Treating Pain at Amputation Sites (AMP-5).

​For more information or to learn if you qualify to participate in a research study, call (412) 864-2587 or use our online form.

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