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March 1961

Use of Cordotomy in the Relief of Intractable Pain

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Neurology, Department of Surgery, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Tex.

Arch Surg. 1961;82(3):440-442. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300090110023

With the increasing age of the population, a greater incidence of neoplastic, arthritic, and vascular diseases has been noted. The patients suffering from any of these diseases may complain of pain. Often this is the major complaint. Frequently, the physician has no means of curing the patient, but must find a way to render symptomatic relief. This report deals with one approach whereby pain relief is obtained by surgical section of the pain pathways within the spinal cord.

The results and complications of 27 consecutive cordotomies performed in 26 patients are described. The duration of follow-up ranges from 5 months to 3 years. Twenty-one patients suffered from malignant tumors, but 5 patients have had other painful diseases. Two patients have been operated upon for chronic adhesive arachnoiditis of the cauda equina, one for acute intermittent porphyria, one for ischemic pain in the leg secondary to arteriosclerosis, and one for pain