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March 1970

Pain and the Neurosurgeon.

Author Affiliations

Burlington, Vt

Arch Intern Med. 1970;125(3):552-553. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310030162023

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The best way to characterize this book is to quote Sir Geoffrey Jefferson, one of the outstanding British neurosurgeons of this century, who stated in his preface to the first edition, "This book is concerned with pain, not as a warning signal, but as an enemy that can be defeated." Wilder Penfield, in his preface to the present, second edition, presumably taking into account the advances of medicine in general, and of pain chemotherapy in particular, refined the problem by emphasizing intractable pain.

There can be no question that while the applications of neurosurgical techniques for the relief of pain must be considered extremely limited, the results can be most rewarding. One might look at the problem by stating that most pain needs only temporary relief, while the evocative condition is either cured or resolved. By this definition surgery should be reserved for the relief of pain produced by conditions

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