Surgical treatment of chronic lower extremity neuropathic pain.
The current authors retrospectively reviewed 147 lower extremity peripheral nerve procedures in 114 patients (average age, 42 years) with chronic lower extremity neuropathic pain to determine whether surgical treatment based on an empirically derived algorithm could reduce pain and improve function. This algorithm assigns crush, stretch, and chronic transection injuries to treatment with transection and containment. Peripheral nerve stimulation was used in conjunction with transection and containment for patients with more chronic presentations for whom previous transections had been unsuccessful. Patients with adhesive neuralgia underwent revision neurolysis with vein wrapping. Patients with repetitive nerve trauma (overuse) underwent primary or revision neurolysis. Duration of symptoms averaged 37 months, and mechanisms of nerve injury included chronic transection, crush, adhesive neuralgia, stretch, repetitive trauma, and idiopathic etiology. Time to followup averaged 38 months. Pain and dysfunction were ranked from 0 points (no pain or dysfunction) to 10 points (pain prompting request for amputation or functional deficit warranting wheelchair use); preoperative and followup work status were documented. Average pain and dysfunction scores improved: 8.8 to 5.6 points and 7.6 to 5.0 points, respectively. Of the 114 patients, 52 (46%) patients improved their work status, including 35 of 87 (40%) involved in workers' compensation. There were no statistically significant differences in outcome based on mechanism of nerve injury or type of procedure. The consistent average improvement suggests this algorithm assigns the appropriate procedure to a given mechanism of injury.
Schon, LC; Anderson, CD; Easley, ME; Lam, PW; Trnka, HJ; Lumsden, DB; Levin, G; Shanker, J
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