Amputation and prosthesis implantation shape body and peripersonal space representations
Little is known about whether and how multimodal representations of the body (BRs) and of the space around the body (Peripersonal Space, PPS) adapt to amputation and prosthesis implantation. In order to investigate this issue, we tested BR in a group of upper limb amputees by means of a tactile distance perception task and PPS by means of an audio-tactile interaction task. Subjects performed the tasks with stimulation either on the healthy limb or the stump of the amputated limb, while wearing or not wearing their prosthesis. When patients performed the tasks on the amputated limb, without the prosthesis, the perception of arm length shrank, with a concurrent shift of PPS boundaries towards the stump. Conversely, wearing the prosthesis increased the perceived length of the stump and extended the PPS boundaries so as to include the prosthetic hand, such that the prosthesis partially replaced the missing limb.