Cortical Reorganization after Limb Loss: Bridging the Gap between Basic Science and Clinical Recovery

Tawnee Sparling*, Laxmi Iyer, Paul Pasquina, Emily Petrus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the increasing incidence and prevalence of amputation across the globe, individuals with acquired limb loss continue to struggle with functional recovery and chronic pain. A more complete understanding of the motor and sensory remodeling of the peripheral and central nervous system that occurs postamputation may help advance clinical interventions to improve the quality of life for individuals with acquired limb loss. The purpose of this article is to first provide background clinical context on individuals with acquired limb loss and then to provide a comprehensive review of the known motor and sensory neural adaptations from both animal models and human clinical trials. Finally, the article bridges the gap between basic science researchers and clinicians that treat individuals with limb loss by explaining how current clinical treatments may restore function and modulate phantom limb pain using the underlying neural adaptations described above. This review should encourage the further development of novel treatments with known neurological targets to improve the recovery of individuals postamputation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - 3 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • amputation
  • amputee rehabilitation
  • cortical reorganization
  • limb loss
  • neural circuits
  • prosthetics


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