Innovation for Independence

Phantom Limb Pain (PLP) Management – A State-of-the-art Solution to a Painful Problem

Using Holoscopic 3D technology at home
Publish date:
11/11/2014 - 9:14am
Last updated:
17/11/2014 - 4:41pm

Our aim is to introduce a home-based system to treat a severe chronic pain syndrome, Phantom Limb Pain (PLP). Building on from the idea of mirror box therapy (box and a mirror), we are creating the world most advanced interactive, near real virtual environment to treat PLP. Our ultimate goal is to produce an innovative virtually induced re-embodiment system which is personalised, engaging, simple to use, and - most importantly – cost-effective therapy to be used in patients’ homes. This system fuses recent innovations in motion capture (sensor network and camera tracking), 3D Holoscopic and human-based graphics technologies. A novel computational integration platform is to be introduced that is expected to have significant impact on personalisation and cost effectiveness of the proposed system. For the first time, a system will be designed to adjust to and utilise patients’ visual, proprioceptive, and cognitive capabilities to devise highly immersive, personalised tasks in highly realistic virtual environment for therapeutic purpose. The audio-visual technologies will be based on the integration of a novel 3D Holoscopic visual solution with a three layer bone-muscle-skin graphics production system to create a realistic virtual limb and the suitable immersive environment.

Insight & Impact

There are over 85,000 amputees in the UK with 5,000 new patient referrals to prosthetic limb services each year (NASDAB, 2009). The number in Europe is around 700,000. In the US, the estimates reaches 2 million, and the number of lower limb amputations is expected to increase to 58,000 per year by 2030. 80% are lower limb amputees. Approximately 70% will develop phantom limb pain (PLP) and in 25% it will interfere with sleep, social activity and work. Phantom limb pain is chronic and intractable. Despite many trials of a wide variety of treatments, few are effective. The need for newer, more effective treatments is clear. The populations most affected by PLP in the UK and EU are over 60s with vascular disease, and the war veterans. 'Mirror Box' therapy was introduced as a new treatment for PLP over 15 years ago; our preliminary results, using motion from the residual limb to prooduce a ‘VR induced required’ limb, felt and moved as normal, has led to substantial reduction in PLP (more than 3 points on an 11 point VAS). The cost of care and treatment regimen will be reduced because 1. Home-based therapy sessions would allow patients to take ownership and control of their rehabilitation processes. 2. Fewer visitations and logistical complexities to specialist imposed on NHS.

Skills needed for this project

  • We have a team with sufficient levels of skills (Clinical, Engineering and sale of Home-Based Medical Services))