Researchers found performing a cordotomy to treat bilateral pain in patients with cancer can result in increased or new pain; however, the procedure can still be a useful treatment tool because the resulting postoperative pain is easier to control than the original pain.
The study included 26 patients who underwent percutaneous cordotomy through C1-C2 for severe bilateral cancer pain, with researchers analyzing how the treatment affected pain outcomes.
A total of 19 out of the 26 patients who underwent unilateral cordotomy experienced increased pain. In 14 of those cases, the new pain was just as severe as the original, dominant pain, according to the researchers. Seven patients experienced new pain after a bilateral cordotomy as well, with the pain located cephalad to the region rendered analgesic by cordotomy; however, this pain was better controlled than the original pain.
The researchers noted evidence of a referred pain management was found in three patients after the procedure, but there were no pathologic organic causes of new pain in any of the patients. – by Robert Linnehan
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.