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Pain surgery is one of the historic foundations of neurological surgery. The authors present a review of contemporary concepts in surgical pain management, with reference to past successes and failures, what has been learned as a subspecialty over the past 50 years, as well as a vision for current and future practice. This subspecialty confronts problems of cancer pain, nociceptive pain, and neuropathic pain. For noncancer pain, ablative procedures such as dorsal root entry zone lesions and rhizolysis for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) should continue to be practiced. Other procedures, such as medial thalamotomy, have not been proven effective and require continued study. Dorsal rhizotomy, dorsal root ganglionectomy, and neurotomy should probably be abandoned. For cancer pain, cordotomy is an important and underutilized method for pain control. Intrathecal opiate administration via an implantable system remains an important option for cancer pain management. While there are encouraging results in small case series, cingulotomy, hypophysectomy, and mesencephalotomy deserve further detailed analysis. Electrical neuromodulation is a rapidly changing discipline, and new methods such as high-frequency spinal cord stimulation (SCS), burst SCS, and dorsal root ganglion stimulation may or may not prove to be more effective than conventional SCS. Despite a history of failure, deep brain stimulation for pain may yet prove to be an effective therapy for specific pain conditions. Peripheral nerve stimulation for conditions such as occipital neuralgia and trigeminal neuropathic pain remains an option, although the quality of outcomes data is a challenge to these applications. Based on the evidence, motor cortex stimulation should be abandoned. TN is a mainstay of the surgical treatment of pain, particularly as new evidence and insights into TN emerge. Pain surgery will continue to build on this heritage, and restorative procedures will likely find a role in the armamentarium. The challenge for the future will be to acquire higher-level evidence to support the practice of surgical pain management.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of neurosurgery
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A condition of persistent pain and discomfort in the BACK and the LEG following lumbar surgery, often seen in patients enrolled in pain centers.
Pain during the period after surgery.
Medical methods of either relieving pain caused by a particular condition or removing the sensation of pain during a surgery or other medical procedure.
Structured vocabularies describing concepts from the fields of biology and relationships between concepts.
A type of pain that is perceived in an area away from the site where the pain arises, such as facial pain caused by lesion of the VAGUS NERVE, or throat problem generating referred pain in the ear.
An anesthesiologist (US English) or anaesthetist (British English) is a physician trained in anesthesia and perioperative medicine. Anesthesiologists are physicians who provide medical care to patients in a wide variety of (usually acute) situations. ...
Surgery is a technology consisting of a physical intervention on tissues. All forms of surgery are considered invasive procedures; so-called "noninvasive surgery" usually refers to an excision that does not penetrate the structure being exci...
Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage”. Some illnesses can be excruci...